Prostate cancer is the 3rd most prevalent cancer among Filipino men, next to lung and colorectal cancer.
Despite the high prevalence of the disease, there is a lack of awareness and considerable confusion and misinformation surrounding prostate cancer.
Trinity believes that the prevention of diseases like prostate cancer begins with a greater understanding of the disease itself. In celebration of the prostate cancer awareness month, we have prepared this article to spread more awareness of this disease.
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the prostate – a gland present in men only, so only men can develop this type of cancer. The prostate gland produces some of the fluid that protects and nourishes the sperm cells.
Prostate cancer starts when cells in the prostate grow and divide abnormally.
The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known, but several risk factors have been identified to contribute to its development. Some of the common uncontrollable risk factors for prostate cancer include:
Prostate cancer is mainly asymptomatic during its early stages. Symptoms most often show up later, as cancer grows.
The most common symptoms that a patient may experience in the later stages include the following:
If you have these symptoms, book a consultation with your doctor immediately. Keep in mind, though, that these symptoms may also be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer.
Like most cancers, prostate cancer can be cured when detected and treated early. Early cancer detection is possible with a screening test. Screening helps find cancer before they have symptoms and while it is still easier to treat.
There are two screening methods commonly used to detect prostate cancer as described below:
When the doctor sees abnormalities in either the PSA levels or DRE test, a patient will be advised to undergo more targeted procedures such as ultrasound and prostate biopsy to confirm if there is really cancer. This is because abnormalities that may be found in both tests may also be caused by other conditions.
The decision to get screened for prostate cancer must be discussed properly with the doctor as there are many factors to consider including age, health, and family history.
For example, if a man is already old and in poor health, screening to find early prostate cancer may not be necessary and beneficial. This is because prostate cancer is slow-growing, and he may die from his other health condition before they could even treat the cancer after screening is done.
On the contrary, if a man is still relatively young but at risk, the screening will be recommended depending on the level of risk. The following are the considerations for screening according to the Philippine Cancer Society:
There are various treatment options for prostate cancer depending on the stage it is in upon diagnosis. Possible treatment options for each stage are as follows:
Prostate cancer is a complex disease, and doctors may differ in their opinions regarding the best treatment options. It is important to speak with doctors who specialize in different kinds of treatment to help sort through the treatment options. Together, weigh the benefits of each treatment against its possible outcomes, side effects, and risks.
Many men diagnosed and treated at the local or regional stages can be disease-free after five years. The distant stage of prostate cancer is no longer curable but undergoing treatment can help slow prostate cancer progression.
Since most of the risk factors for prostate cancer such as age and family history are uncontrollable, there is no surefire way to prevent the disease. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle might still help lower the risk of developing and even dying from cancer.
The healthy behaviors that can be done include avoiding tobacco products, achieving, and maintaining a healthy weight, staying active throughout life, and eating a healthy diet.