Natural phenomenon of the human body is that it grows old, and as it matures, it starts surrendering to certain anonymous causes, which may lead to varying ailments, ultimately coarsely impacting the very human anatomy. One such medical condition that grows within us unfamiliarly is Prostate Cancer, which gets prominent primarily in older-men (55+), and is one of the leading causes of cancer globally. The irony is, definite causes of this illness are still not known.
For a quick understanding, Prostate Cancer develops when cells in the prostate gland (a walnut-sized gland present only in men that makes some fluid for semen) start to grow uncontrollably. Prostate Cancer occurs more often in African-American men, while less common in Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native men.
Strangely, Prostate Cancer do not display any symptom unless it spreads outside the prostate gland. Some common indications, however, include difficulty in managing (starting or stopping) urine flow, pain in lower back, hips, and/or upper thighs, increased urinary frequency (mainly at night), and blood in urine or semen.
Role of Urology in Prostate Cancer treatment:
For curing complications and the side effects related to Prostate Cancer several therapies and expertise of numerous medical professionals (urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and clinical trial nurses) from varied specialties are involved for deciding the best treatment options.
Urology, however, plays an important role in curing patients with Prostate Cancer — from diagnosis to treatment. A urologist may prescribe drugs or suggest surgery, such as endocrine therapy to treat the ailment. In case of advanced Prostate Cancer, however, the urologist may refer to other specialists, trained specifically to cure advanced Prostate Cancer.
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer:
To diagnose, a urologist tries to understand the patient’s history, conducts a physical examination, and suggests various tests:
- Digital Rectal Exam — which includes inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feeling prostate gland through the rectal wall.
- Blood test — which includes checking for the level of prostate-specific antigens in blood.
If test results are abnormal, the urologist may advise:
- Transrectal Ultrasound – which includes inserting a probe into the rectum to check the prostate for abnormal areas.
- Transrectal Biopsy – which includes passing a biopsy needle through the rectum for obtaining tissue to test for cancer cells.
Another screening tool that urology system uses is Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, wherein a urologist measures the level of PSA (a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland) in a man’s blood. Most healthcare organizations, however, recommend that men who are considering PSA screening first discuss the risks and benefits with their physicians.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer:
There are various options available for Prostate Cancer treatment, including Surgery – Robotic-Assisted Prostatectomy; Radiation Therapy; Active Surveillance; Immunotherapy – Provenge; High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU); Chemotherapy, Cryotherapy, Hormonal Therapy, and in some case doctors recommend “watchful waiting”.
Though there are often no early symptoms for Prostate Cancer, yet an observant eye on some anomalous indications and timely visit to a urology expert means more options for Prostate Cancer treatment and increased chances of survival.