These prostate problems are common in men after age 50, and fortunately, effective treatment and relief of symptoms is easily available.
Prostate cancer that is contained inside the prostate (localised prostate cancer) doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. But there have been instances where patients have experienced urinary problems. These may be mild and happen over the course of many years. It is important to note that, these symptoms may also be a sign of a benign prostate problem, rather than prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer symptoms only begin to show once the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra. It is best to consult with a doctor or urologist, who are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.
Symptoms for prostate cancer usually result in problems associated with urination :
- needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
- needing to rush to the toilet – sometimes leaking before you get there
- difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
- straining or taking a long time while urinating
- weak flow when you urinate
- feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
- dribbling urine after you finish
Less common symptoms include
- pain when urinating
- pain when ejaculating
- blood in your urine or semen*
- problems getting or keeping an erection – this isn’t a common symptom of a prostate problem and is more often linked to other health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems.
*Blood in your urine or semen can be caused by other health problems.
Symptoms that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.
As common as prostate cancer is, there are no specific causes for it. But there are a number of things that can increase your risk of developing the condition. However, please note, that having any of these risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop cancer.
Most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age
Having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer under the age of 60 increases the risk
Recent research suggests that there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer and men who regularly exercise have also been found to be at lower risk of developing prostate cancer
Prostate cancer rates appear to be lower in men who eat healthy foods containing vegetables and fruits
Some research has linked smoking to an increased risk of prostate cancer
Detection and diagnosis
Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed through the following methods:
- A urine sample to check for infection
- A Prostate Specific Antigen blood test
- Physical examination by a doctor
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
This simple blood test measures the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in a patient’s blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and all men have a small amount of PSA in their blood, which increases with age. A raised PSA level may suggest you have a problem with your prostate, but not necessarily cancer. Depending on the result, further investigation by a specialist will be needed. Please note that a high PSA test result does not necessarily mean cancer.
The examination to check the condition of the prostate is via the rectum. The examination involves inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to check the size of the prostate and assess if there are any abnormalities.
The treatment of cancer often varies with degree and type of cancer affected. Different treatment options will depend on whether the cancer is within the prostate gland (localised), or has spread outside of the prostate (locally advanced) or had spread to other parts of the body (advanced).
It is best to evaluate all options with your doctor before deciding on the best treatment and care for you. The best treatment option available for prostate cancer is Radical Prostatectomy or Radiation Therapy
Surgery may be a treatment option for men with prostate cancer that is contained inside the prostate and who are otherwise fit and healthy. Compared to the traditional treatment, which involves large incisions and post-operative side effects, the da Vinci Surgical system allows to hospital stays, with minimal blood loss, post-op infections. The da Vinci Surgical System uses finely controlled robotic instruments to perform the prostatectomy safely, while enhancing patient recovery and outcome. Treating prostate cancer with the da Vinci Surgical system, spares a patients’ delicate prostate nerves that control bladder and sexual function.
Radiation Therapy directs high energy X-ray beams at the prostate gland. These beams damage the cells and stop them from dividing and growing. Radiotherapy treats the whole prostate, and sometimes the area around it. The treatment is painless but it can cause side effects. Radiation therapy is also used if the cancer is not removed completely or recurs in the area of the prostate after surgery. The two types of radiation therapy used for prostate cancer are External beam radiation and Brachytherapy (or internal radiation). To read more on the different types of radiation treatments available please click here.
It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs.