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Prostate Cancer Definition, Prostate Cancer Prevention, Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer DefinitionAdenocarcinoma of the prostate is the clinical term for a cancerous tumor on the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. If left untreated, it can spread to nearby lymph nodes, bones or organs. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a male reproductive system. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate contains cells that make some of the fluid (semen) that protects and nourishes the sperm. It also provides the muscle power needed when the sperm leaves the penis during ejaculation.

The prostate gland is located in the pelvis, below the bladder, above the urethral sphincter and the penis and in front of the rectum in men. It is made up of glandular tissue and muscle fibers that surround a portion of the urethra. The gland is covered by a membrane (called the prostate capsule) that produces prostate-specific antigen.

Like most organs, the prostate begins to develop before birth and keeps on growing until a man reaches adulthood, the prostate is about the size of a walnut and stops growing. Male hormones (called androgens) cause this growth. If male hormone levels are low, the prostate gland will not grow to full size. In older men about age 60, prostate can start growing again. By age 70, almost all men will have an enlarged prostate.

Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease. Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages. It is rare in men younger than 40.

Accounting for about 80% of prostate cancer cases, prostatic adenocarcinoma is the most common type of prostate cancer. The word carcinoma refers to a malignant growth that originates in the epithelial cells of the body. Epithelial cells constitute a thin layer that covers the external body or internal organs. The word adenocarcinoma refers to a malignant growth that originates in epithelial cells with glandular properties. Glandular cells absorb or secrete fluid. Prostatic adenocarcinoma refers to a malignant growth that originates in the glandular tissue of the prostate gland. The glandular tissue of the prostate gland is designed to secrete chemicals that aid the sperm during their journey to fertilization.

Prostate Cancer Prevention (Avoid Risk Factors and Increase Protective Factors)

The exact causes of prostate cancer are not known and doctors cannot always explain why one person gets cancer and another does not. However, scientists have studied general patterns of cancer in the population to learn what things around us and what things we do in our lives may increase our chance of developing cancer. However, it is clear that prostate cancer is not contagious and is impossible to "catch" it from another person.

Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor; anything that decreases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a protective factor. Some of the risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, although you can choose to quit smoking, you cannot choose which genes you have inherited from your parents. Both smoking and inheriting specific genes could be considered risk factors for certain kinds of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Prevention means avoiding the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that can be controlled so that the chance of developing cancer decreases.

Although many risk factors can be avoided, it is important to keep in mind that avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that you will not get cancer. Also, most people with a particular risk factor for cancer do not actually get the disease. Some people are more sensitive than others are to factors that can cause cancer. Your odds of prostate cancer prevention may be increased by exercising and eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish. Maintaining a healthy weight also can help.

Experts estimate that 80 per cent of all cancers can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices. Avoid saturated and trans fats, which may fuel prostate cancer growth, and incorporate protective foods, such as soy, green tea and tomatoes, into your diet. Soy contains isoflavones with specific anti-cancer activity. Green tea is rich in polyphenols that inhibit the formation of cancer-causing compounds and block the growth of prostate cancer cells. And tomatoes, particularly cooked tomato products, are an excellent source of lycopene, which is linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. In addition, make sure your daily nutritional supplement contains high doses of the antioxidant selenium (200 micrograms) and vitamin E (800 IU), which have been shown to dramatically lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Increase Selenium consumption. Selenium is highly needed to keep your prostate healthy. The foods containing good levels of Selenium are: eggs, cashews, brazil nuts, garlic, wheat germ, seafood, cashews, onions and mushrooms, sesame and sunflower seeds.

Increase Zinc intake. Zinc consumption in amount of 15 mg per day helps for proper and healthy prostate functionality. Excellent Zinc sources are pumpkin seed in shell, nuts and beans. Talk to your doctor about methods of preventing cancer that might be effective for you.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Some prostate cancers are very slow growing and can be present for years without affecting your health. Your healthcare team will watch the cancer closely. Your doctor will examine your prostate and test your PSA levels regularly. A TRUS or biopsy may be done from time to time. Immediate treatment may be considered only if signs of cancer appear or change.

Prostate cancer treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer. How fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue helps determine the stage. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer.

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