Prostate cancer. A cancer that grows silently

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Unfortunately, symptoms are often neglected and only early diagnosis gives a chance of recovery. Many famous people have struggled with prostate cancer, incl. Józef Oleksy, Krzysztof Krauze, Maciej Damięcki. – The disease is common – it can affect any man, everyone is at risk. Everyone should be examined – urges urologist Dr. Paweł Salwa. And warns. – Often the first symptom with which a patient reports, especially in Poland, is bone pain, resulting from metastases. And this is a situation in which we are absolutely lost.

Watch the video: “5 Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer You Should Not Ignore. They Are Not Obvious”

The article is part of the action “Think about yourself – we check the health of Poles in a pandemic”. Take the TEST and find out what your body really needs.

1. The causes of prostate cancer

November is a month when there is a lot of talk about “male” cancers – testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Unfortunately, there are still no campaigns that would make people aware of how huge this problem is, especially in our country.

The prostate is a prostate gland, also known as a prostate, which belongs to the male sex organs. It is located close to the bladder and surrounds a section of the urethra, which is why prostate cancer ailments often relate to urination.

– In common understanding, someone who frequently runs to the toilet is said to “have a prostate” in the sense of some disease. Meanwhile, the prostate is there the glandthat every man has – explains Dr. Paweł Salwa, MD, a urologist, head of the Urology Clinic at Medicover in Warsaw, in an interview with WP abcZdrowie.

– It’s under the bladder, and his functions are related to reproduction – with the production of semen components needed for fertilization. By the way, due to the location, when the prostate grows, it causes pressure on the bladder, and thus – difficult urination. This is what men feel and what they can complain about – adds the expert.

There are three types of prostate disease: acute or chronic inflammation, benign hyperplasia, and malignant tumor of the prostate.

Dr. Salwa points out that the two most common diseases affecting the prostate are gland growth and cancer.

– A very important nuance, which I always try to pay attention to, is that the prostate can have two completely independent diseases. One is the so-called benign enlargement of the prostate, causing symptoms such as: difficult or frequent urination, getting up at night. It is a mild disease – burdensome, but not fatal.

It is completely different with prostate cancer – it is the most common malignant neoplasm in men.

Prostate cancer most often appears in men whose first degree relatives (father or brother) have suffered from this type of cancer. The risk increases with the number of relatives suffering from prostate cancer.

– If a man in our family has had prostate cancer, it’s ours the risk rises about fivefold. Additionally there is no way to prevent prostate cancer, as with lung cancer, that you can reduce your risk by, for example, quitting smoking. Here, the only thing left is regular examination to detect the disease at an early stage, when it is almost 100%. curable – we can do nothing else, no healthy lifestyle will protect against this cancer. My patients are high-performance athletes, people who have led a hygienic lifestyle, and those who did not care for themselves. This disease does not choose – the expert alarms.

Prostate cancer grows slowly. In about 10 years, a tumor develops, and in 4 years, the number of cancer cells doubles. Prostate cancer initially spreads over the prostate gland, and over time metastasizes the lymph nodes and bones.

2. Symptoms of prostate cancer – first symptoms

– Cancer does not have symptoms such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. If we wait for symptoms, we are terribly mistaken, warns Dr. Salwa.

This is important because men are convinced that they will be able to react appropriately as soon as the first symptoms of prostate cancer appear. Meanwhile, such situations are rare.

– Every day during the consultations I have to explain to the patients that cancer, unfortunately, has no symptoms. Why “unfortunately”? Because if he gave, the man would go to the doctor, the disease would be detected early. Without symptoms, prostate cancer can progress to the point where it becomes incurable, she says.

And what symptoms may or may not occur? If you have any of the following symptoms of prostate cancer, please see your doctor:

  • sudden need to urinate
  • problems urinating, difficulty holding urine,
  • sharp or burning pain when urinating,
  • pain during ejaculation,
  • pain in the lower back or perineum, upper thigh, hip
  • frequent urination, especially at night
  • blood in urine or semen
  • stomach pain, problems with the digestive system,
  • low levels of red blood cells,
  • weight loss for no apparent reason,
  • fatigue and lethargy.

Dr. Salwa emphasizes that his patients, when the cancer is advanced, see a doctor with a completely different ailment.

– Often the first symptom with which a patient reports, especially in Poland, is – attention – bone achealready resulting from metastases. And this is a situation in which we are absolutely lost. And it’s scary, she says.

3. Prostate cancer diagnosis

– The basic test for prostate cancer is a blood test that measures PSA. In my opinion, it is simple, not burdensome and at the same time inexpensive, it is worth doing it once in a while, e.g. during periodic examinations or occupational medicine examinations. I do it – declares the urologist.

Prostate epithelial cells produce PSA glycoprotein. If there is an increase in serum PSA in the body, a tumor is suspected. However, this increase is not always associated with cancer, it contributes to it, inter alia, prostate volume, prostatitis or mechanical trauma.

This is an important test that can additionally replace what men usually fear – rectal examination.

Rectal examination in the context of prostate cancer is a low-quality examination that is very often wrong, does not detect cancer, and is embarrassing and unpleasant at the same time. A large part of the prostate is unavailable for finger examination, which means that even the advanced form of cancer can be overlooked in this examination, the expert explains.

In his opinion, after the test that determines the level of PSA in the blood, MRI is next. It is virtually infallible and allows you to decide whether you need a biopsy.

– The next step is a biopsy, i.e. taking small sections of the prostate to assess whether it is cancer, and if so, how malignant, how advanced and where it is located. It all determines the method of treatment – explains Dr. Salwa.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed on the basis of a biopsy. It has to be done when:

  • you have high levels of PSA
  • changes in the prostate were detected by transrectal ultrasound,
  • abnormalities were found in the prostate during rectal examination.

A biopsy not only detects cancer but also determines its extent and degree of malignancy.

4. Treatment of prostate cancer

If prostate cancer is found at an early stage, it can be completely eliminated. One method is surgery, which involves the complete excision of the prostate, seminal vesicles, and pelvic lymph nodes. Prostate cancer treatment may also involve radical radiation of the prostate from external fields. Radiation therapy is also used and a radioisotope is inserted into the prostate gland.

– Surgery is a large part of treatment – in addition to robotics, there are older methods such as laparoscopy. Various forms of radiation therapy are an alternative to surgical methods. It depends not only on the type of cancer, but also on the patient’s condition or age, explains the expert.

if prostate cancer goes beyond the gland, it cannot be completely removed. Then the patient undergoes hormone therapy, which reduces the effect of androgens on the prostate. Sometimes the testes are removed or given drugs that suppress the production of testosterone. Research says that in Poland, 30 percent prostate cancer cases are detected at a very advanced stage.

5. Regular examinations are most important

It is recommended that men over 50 years of age regularly present for urological examinations and tests determining the level of PSA in the serum.

Recently, the increase in the number of early-stage prostate diagnoses is increasing by about 2.5%. annually. This is a very good sign as it shows the growing health awareness of the society.

Men more often go to the doctor because of problems with urination or for preventive examinations. It has become more popular to determine the concentration of PSA in the serum. In addition, doctors have perfected the performance of a prostate biopsy.

However, according to the expert, these changes in men’s awareness and public awareness about prostate cancer come too slowly. Why?

– I see the reason for the fact that for hundreds of years the diagnosis of prostate cancer and his treatment ended with urological “disability”. The man did not urinate, he did not have an erection – everyone knew that. No wonder it is scary – it is against his masculinity and humanity. As a society, we are not moving forward with this, after all, how many TV commercials are erection ads? And what is this message for us? That if a man does not have an erection, he is worthless – for society, for women. So how can you expect a man to agree to admit, “Yes, I had cancer, I cured it and I’m alive, so great. It’s true that I will never approach a woman, and I’m not incontinent, but it’s nothing” – says Dr. Volley.

A urologist who treats prostate cancer with a modern method, however, is full of hope that the reality of cancer patients in Poland will be more optimistic with time.

– Fortunately, we manage to disenchant this stereotype, the da Vinci prostate cancer surgery performed by an experienced operator, i.e. one who has performed at least 500-1000 such surgeries, allows not only to successfully cure the cancer, but above all to maintain the patient’s quality of life – argues Dr. Salwa .

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About Peter Wilson

In love with technology, with an eye towards smartphones, he does not disdain any activity linked to the Nerd world. TV series, movies, manga, anime, and comics (Marvel addicted) are the order of the day.

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