Categories Prostate Cancer

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

It is important for a man’s overall health to get regular prostate exams. Prostate cancer usually does not reveal itself through health symptoms right away and is usually detected early on only through prostate exams such as a digital rectal exam, or a prostate-specific antigen. This is why it is important not to miss your prostate exams and checkups. If you have prostate cancer and are not going to prostate exams regularly, you will not immediately know that you have this condition because the symptoms stay hidden at first. In all types of cancer, early detection can be the most important factor, because it is easier to treat in earlier stages before it has spread.

If you do not get regular prostate exams and prostate cancer has advanced in the body, some symptoms you may experience will be noticeable during urination. If you have trouble urinating including the starting and stopping of the urination stream, a decreased force of the urine flow, or blood in your urine, these could be signs of prostate cancer. If you feel the need to urinate frequently, and it seems like you need to urinate more than usual, see a doctor immediately. If your frequent need to urinate is happening at night, it is even the more reason to suspect prostate cancer. Painful and burning urination would also be a reason to contact a medical professional. Though these symptoms could be related to other problems as well, they are also attributed to prostate cancer. Another symptom that may occur is blood in the semen, painful ejaculation, and difficulty having an erection. In every case, do not wait, but contact your doctor as soon as possible.

If prostate cancer has been undetected by you or your doctor through the early stages of cancer into the advanced stage, you may experience overall discomfort in the pelvic region and/or swelling in the legs. These symptoms mean that the cancer has spread. Do not ignore pain or feeling stiffness in the lower back or hips and upper thighs either. At this point the prostate cancer could be getting serious. Again, it is imperative that men are getting prostate screenings on the regular so cancer does not have the opportunity to spread and become very dangerous. At the early stages of prostate cancer, it is easier to treat and beat it, and getting tested for this is the most effective way to prevent this common health issue.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Emerging Treatments for Prostate Cancer

With cancer being such a big problem these days, it is no wonder that many researchers are submerged in their efforts to find a cure. Although many different types of cancers affect men and women, blacks and whites, children and elderly, one type is certain to affect only males: prostate cancer. In labs all over the world, scientists are developing news strategies for fighting prostate cancer. The test subjects of these experimental drugs and regimens are men with advanced stage prostate cancer. The reason for this is because that no other types of treatment have yet worked, thus giving great promise to the experimental treatments. Plus, because the cancer is so advanced, any change due to the new treatment will be more noticeable, giving researchers “the upper hand.”

Most of these new medications and treatment methods for prostate cancer are known as Targeted Therapies. Basically, these attack the individual cancer cells themselves, unlike chemotherapy and radiation, which can’t differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells, thus leading to adverse side effects. Some of these new treatments can actually inhibit the cancer cells communication, preventing them from further growth and spreading. Although these types of treatments are in the early stages (the FDA has not approved them yet), they show great promise in controlling and possibly eradicating prostate cancer altogether.

Several different types of Targeted Therapies are in the process of being developed. One method involves altering the growth of cancer through its complex communications network by changing the fats and proteins that are used in this communication system. Although this method has proven mostly unsuccessful, the research involved has helped scientists understand Targeted Therapy more, giving them more knowledge when dealing with other drugs, especially the synergy of two drugs (the ways that drugs might interact to fight disease).

Another method of Targeted Therapy involves the interference of the spread of prostate cancer. When cancer cells divide and spread, new blood vessels must sprout from the old ones in order to keep the cancer cells healthy and growing. This process is called angiogenesis. If angiogenesis could be inhibited in some way, the new cancer cells would die, thus preventing the cancer from ever growing to a larger state. One drug has specifically come out for this purpose (Avastin), but the FDA approved it for colorectal cancer only. However, it is now being tested in patients with breast cancer, and even prostate cancer. Although this treatment doesn’t rid the patient of the cancer, it does add promise to being able to live with the cancer until a definitive cure comes out.

A final type of Targeted Therapy being worked on stems from the notion of harnessing one’s own immune system to fight off the disease. Most vaccine are called preventive vaccines, which introduce small amounts of a virus into the body so that later, if the body ever comes into contact with it, the body will be able to recognize it and fight it off. The problem with cancer is that it never was a foreign virus: it used to be healthy human tissue. Thus, scientists are now working on what are called therapeutic vaccines, which enable the immune system to recognize certain proteins that are specific to cancer cells, giving the body the opportunity to fight off the cancer.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Abarelix: Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Each year, millions of men suffer from symptoms of prostate enlargement. Of these, many men will seek out medical treatment and, unfortunately, be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In an effort to provide aggressive prostate cancer treatment, healthcare professionals, usually an oncologist, will develop specific treatment plans for men suffering from symptomatic, aggressive prostate cancer. As part of this aggressive treatment program, the use of an injection known as Abarelix, may be indicated. Understanding the use, dosing and side effects will equip men with a better understanding of the personal prostate treatment plan program.

Abarelix, manufactured by Praecis Pharmaceuticals, is used in the treatment of prostate cancer with success in slowing the progression of prostate cancer by reducing the level of testosterone. Dosing of Abarelix will depend on the stage in which the prostate cancer has progressed and the level of prostate cancer symptoms. As an injection, Abarelix is a convenient approach to fighting aggressive prostate cancer when given in 100 milligram doses once every two weeks over the first month and then monthly thereafter. Because severe side effects, attributed to an allergic reaction, are generally seen within the first few hours of administration of the first dose, prostate cancer patients, using Abarelix in treatment, should remain in the physician’s office for up to one hour following the first injection to monitor for potential complications.

As with any FDA approved medication, Abarelix, in the treatment of prostate cancer, does not come without side effects. Side effects most common in the use of Abarelix may include back pain, edema including swelling around the face, arms, legs and chest. In addition, some patients, treating for prostate cancer, will suffer from flu type symptoms including runny nose, fever, sweating and diarrhea associated with Abarelix. In rare cases, syncope, skin rash with itching, tightness of chest with abnormal breathing may ensue and should be brought to the attention of the healthcare professional.

For individuals suffering from co-morbid health conditions, Abarelix is not indicated in the treatment of prostate cancer. Such conditions include cardiovascular complications, obesity and osteoporosis for which Abarelix may further complicate the co-morbid condition. In addition, as women do not possess a prostate, Abarelix should not be administered in females for any reason, even in those seeking to reduce levels of natural testosterone.

As with any form of cancer treatment, discussing options and side effects with the oncologist is crucial to obtaining optimal treatment outcomes. In men, when suffering from prostate cancer, discuss the use of Abarelix with the oncologist.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer & the Impotence Connection

For men suffering from prostate cancer, there are many other co-morbid health complications which lead to an overwhelming sense of confusion and can create emotional complications in the prostate cancer patient. Such co-morbid complications often involve issues associated with urinary and sexual health but men, as a whole, can be overcome by a combination of these complications.

One such complication, impotency, can lead to emotional and psychological deterioration when left untreated following prostate cancer treatment. For many men, some level of temporary impotency may be associated with an enlarged prostate or treatments of prostate cancer but, for others, the impotency is much more significant, resulting in the inability to sustain or even achieve an erection.

What is important to understand is that impotency, following prostate surgery, including orchiectomy and prostatectomy, and following radiation or chemotherapy, is quite common. In many cases, temporary impotence can last as long as 12 months. For this reason, taking radical steps to resolve impotence, immediately following one of these treatment options for prostate cancer, should be avoided as the impotency may resolve on its own after a few months of recovery.

When impotence fails to improve after 12 months post treatment of prostate cancer, the option to pursue more radical forms of impotency treatment may be considered. If confirmed as an impotency directly related to nerve damage, associated with the treatment of prostate cancer, the physician may consider the use of a combination of treatments including penile injections, the use of performance enhancing drugs such as Viagra and even opt to move into more radical treatments including penile implants, vacuum devices and radical surgery to re-route the major artery from the stomach to supply the necessary blood flow to the penis.

While all of these treatments of impotency are successful in their own right, most men will opt to pursue restoration of their sexual health, following prostate surgery and prostate cancer treatment, using only Viagra. In fact, the use of Viagra, coupled with meditation and relaxation techniques, has shown to provide some success in restoring some degree of erection in male patients with a history of prostate cancer. They key to health restoration, therefore, may lie in the patient’s willingness to overcome the complication from a more holistic approach.

In recent surgical advances, the surgery to remove the prostate, and to remove associated cancer cells, has become more specialized, offering the male patient with a better surgical outcome in the treatment of prostate cancer. While surgery, in most cases, can not be avoided, there are techniques the surgeon can use to avoid affecting, permanently, the nerves which control the ability of the man to obtain and achieve erection. Be certain, before selecting a surgeon, that issues such as erection are clearly addressed so as to resolve any issues or complications associated with the prostate surgery and associated prostate cancer treatment.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Everyone, therefore, should be informed about it. The following steps will guide you in diagnosing this disease.

Step 1

Know the risk factors for prostate cancer. These include family history of prostate cancer in a first degree relative, older age, African American race and a diet rich in animal fat.

Step 2

Perform the following prostate cancer screening in all men:

A rectal exam performed by a health care provider to feel for any lumps or irregularities in the prostate gland.

A blood test that measures prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein produced by the prostate. Although many men with prostate cancer have an elevated PSA concentration (above 4.0 ng/mL), an elevated level does not always mean a cancer is present.

Step 3

Perform a trans rectal ultrasound if above tests are positive. It can be done in an office.

Step 4

If all of the above tests are positive, do a prostate biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Tips and facts:

It is important to distinguish Prostate cancer from Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) which is a non-malignent or benigh condition that occurs when the prostate enlarges, slowing or blocking the urine outflow. Treatment of BPH is aimed at reducing the urinary symptoms and improving urine flow. This may also include the surgical or endoscopic removal of the hypertrophied gland. For more information on Benigh Prostate Hypertrophy please read my article titled, ‘Treatment of Benigh Prostate Hypertrophy’

Categories Prostate Cancer

Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland located between a man’s bladder and penis, just in front of the rectum. Its function is to secrete fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Unfortunately, this gland can become cancerous. All men ages 50 and up should undergo annual prostate cancer screenings from a physician. Men of African American descent should begin regular, annual screenings as early as age 40. Screenings are particularly important for those men who have a family history of prostate cancer.

One in thirty five men will die from prostate cancer. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs. Some possible indicators of prostate cancer are difficulty initiating and/or stopping urination; frequent or painful urination; or pain on ejaculation. Blood may be present in urine or semen.

More serious possible indicators of prostate cancer include a urinary tract infection where a fever is present along with burning pain upon urination; bladder obstruction-despite drinking enough fluid, little to no urination is occurring; acute kidney failure, where there is no urination with little or no pain despite drinking enough fluid; or, deep bone pain in the back, hips and thighs. When bone pain is present, it is a possible sign that the prostate cancer has spread to the bones.

The first sign of cancer may be spine compression. This is where the cancer has spread to the tailbone and vertebrae region of the spine. The vertebrae become weakened, causing it to collapse on the spinal cord, which in turn causes problems with function. Should this occur, it can cause difficulty in walking, weakness in the legs, difficulty urinating or defecating, as well as numbness or a tingling sensation in the groin area. If any of these symptoms occur, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

While there are several tests to diagnose cancer, the early screening test is known as the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), which helps detect the cancer in its early stages. Because the prostate is internal and therefore cannot be seen externally on a man’s body, the test is performed by a physician by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum. The physician will feel for any hard, lumpy or abnormal areas. If cancer is suspected, the physician may then order an ultrasound guided biopsy. Other tests used by physicians to diagnose prostate cancer include a PSA blood test, cystoscopy or bladder scope test, as well as MRIs or CAT scans.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/guide/prostate-cancer-overview-facts

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/lrn/lrn_0.asp

http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/site/c.itIWK2OSG/b.4983495/k.5C76/About_Prostate_Cancer.htm

Categories Prostate Cancer

Four Common Prostate Cancer Treatments

When it comes to men’s health, prostate cancer has risen to the top of the list of common ailments that strike all ages. There are various ways in which a man can reduce the risk of this cancer, but in most cases men of all age groups and race will have to either personally deal with this problem, or offer support to someone that they know that has it. Many different treatment options are available to men. Depending upon their current age and health, some may be more appropriate than others. The four most commonly used prostate cancer treatments used today are waiting, surgery, radiation, and hormone injections or pills.

High risk patients, such as men with current health issues, will benefit from watching and waiting. This is a prostate treatment that can be used if the tumor is not at a dangerous size, and if the cancer cells are not spreading. This treatment option eliminates the need for any other treatments in the hopes that the cancer will not gain any size, or maybe even be destroyed by the body. In some instances, this is the first line of defense for men as a prostate cancer treatment plan.

Hormone therapy treatments are also a common prostate treatment when men do not want to deal with the side effects of radiation and surgery, and they are not yet willing to accept the risks that go along with them. This treatment plan begins with receiving an injection, or pill, that helps reduce the amount of testosterone that is produced within the testicles. Since this chemical aids the growth of cancerous cells, the idea is to reduce the growth of the current tumor and to eliminate any growth that may have occurred on a regular basis.

Radiation therapy is the next prostate cancer treatment that can be taken. It can be either an internal or external procedure, and it is designed to kill the cancerous cells within the prostate. This treatment option prevents the need for risky prostate surgery procedures, and offers just as high of a success rate as surgery does.

The final prostate cancer treatment option that is available is surgery. The radical prostatectomy is the only treatment that can successfully prevent any recurrences from happening. If the surgeon removes all of the cancerous cells, as well as any surrounding tissues that have been affected, then the patient will basically be cured.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Tips for Coping with Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

A diagnosis of any sort of health problem can be rightly startling at first. First of all, a fear of the unknown and not knowing what will happen can be scary, and second, a threat to your health can feel like an invasion. You may worry about yourself, and your family. However, here are some tips to help ease your fears if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

When coping with prostate cancer, the first thing to recognize is that technology has made treatment more effective with every passing year and more men every year are beating and surviving prostate cancer.

Learning about prostate cancer will help ease your fear of the unknown. The more you know about the disease you are dealing with, the more prepared you will feel. Understanding the different aspects of prostate cancer will help you to learn about all of the methods that are used to help cure the problem. Being informed will help you to know all of the angles of the problem and how best to approach them. The more you know, the less you will fear. Read books and periodicals about prostate cancer, see a doctor who specializes in treating prostate cancer, ask that professional as many questions as you can and ask them to provide as much information as they can for combating this cancer. This will help you get on your way to a better understanding of what is happening to your body.

If you are feeling uneasy, stressed, and emotionally distressed due to the diagnosis, which is absolutely understandable, it may be a good release to speak with a therapist or an individual counselor about how you are feeling. Depression can occur when diagnosed with cancer and an individual counselor can help you to fight this depression.

Support groups are a great way to help any individual deal with any problem. Because prostate cancer isn’t all that uncommon, support groups do exist for prostate cancer. Being surrounded by a group of individuals who are going through the same experience can really help you cope with the problem. Support groups provide emotional comfort, as the group is there to listen and share their fears, experiences, worries, and successes together. This is a great way to ease the fear of being diagnosed with prostate cancer because the support group creates a feeling of belonging to a team that is together fighting the same cancer. Though having a great family and circle of friends to support you when dealing with a tough time, it may be difficult for them to understand a problem they have never been through themselves. A person in this type of support group will feel less alone when surrounded by a group that is experiencing the same thing.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Causes and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the top four cancers in the United States today, affecting more than 190,000 men each year, though it has more than 2 million living survivors. It typically affects older men, and it is a relatively slowly progressing disease. However, even with the time afforded most men by prostate cancer, catching it early is imperative to improving the chances of survival. Thus, understanding the causes and symptoms of prostate cancer can increase the quality of outcomes.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a tumor or series of tumors growing in the prostate, a small gland that produces seminal fluid in men. It is one of the tumors that progresses more slowly, but can still metastasize (or spread) to other organs over the course of time.

What are the causes of prostate cancer?

Like other cancers, the causes of prostate cancer are not entirely known. Prostate cancer begins when some cells in the prostate gland reproduce themselves abnormally, thought to be caused by a malfunction in the individual cells’ DNA. They divide and reproduce more frequently than normal, healthy cells, crowding out the healthy cells. In time, they can sometimes separate from the prostate itself and metastasize to other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

The symptoms of prostate cancer relate to the stage of the disease, as the more cancerous cells there are in the prostate the more symptoms will likely appear. In the early stages, when the cancer has not had much chance to grow, there are few symptoms. Without a biopsy or regular check-up, prostate cancer will likely go undetected. However, as the cancer becomes more advanced, clearer symptoms do arise: difficulty going to the bathroom (specifically urinating), blood in the semen or urine, discomfort in the pelvic area, bone pain, swelling in the legs, and/or decreased force in the urine stream.

If any of these symptoms arise, a doctor should be consulted immediately. While these symptoms can indicate other conditions, any of these symptoms could indicate the presence of prostate cancer. The sooner a physician is seen and he or she can make a diagnosis, the greater the chances that treatment for prostate cancer will be successful.