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What You Must Know If You Suspect Prostate Cancer - From A Nurse

Aug 17, 2007
Men have traditionally been less likely to seek medical attention than women, especially for minor problems which often serve as warning signs for more serious underlying illness. The main job of the prostate gland is to make seminal fluid, the milky substance that transports sperm. Prostate cancer is deadly but can be cured if it's caught early enough.

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man's reproductive system; it wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. Prostate cancer is normally a slow growth cancer that can take years before it becomes deadly. Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor of the prostate gland.

One prostate cancer symptom is difficulty starting urination or holding back urine. Blood in the urine or semen and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs are often symptoms of cancer. Weak or interrupted flow of urine and painful or burning urination can be symptoms to watch out for.

Other symptoms might include unintentional weight loss and lethargy. If you have one or more prostate cancer symptoms, you should see a qualified doctor as soon as possible. Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease are bone pain or tenderness, and abdominal pain.

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the PSA enzyme in your blood for abnormalities. Another test usually used when prostate cancer symptoms are present is the digital rectal exam (DRE) performed by the doctor. A PSA test with a high level can also be from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.

What is called a free PSA may help tell the difference between BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy), an enlargement of the prostate gland, and prostate cancer. A chest x-ray may be done to see if there's a spread of cancer. A bone scan can indicate whether the cancer has spread or not.

Some drugs with numerous side effects are being used to treat advanced prostate cancer, blocking the production of testosterone, called chemical castration; it has the same result as surgical removal of the testes. The approaches to treatment include: ever watchful waiting to see whether the cancer is growing slowly and not causing any symptoms. Side effects of chemotherapy drugs depend on which ones you're taking and how often and how long they're taken.

In the early stages, surgery and radiation may be used to remove or attempt to kill the cancer cells or shrink the tumor. The conventional treatment of prostate cancer is often controversial. Medicines can be used to adjust the levels of testosterone; called hormonal manipulation.

Since prostate tumors require testosterone to grow, reducing the testosterone level is used to prevent further growth and spread of the cancer. Surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy can interfere with libido on a temporary or permanent basis. Many men simply want the best treatment they can get but what's important is picking the best treatment for you.

Medications can have many side effects, including hot flashes and loss of sexual desire. If chemotherapy is decided upon after the first round of chemotherapy, most men receive further doses on an outpatient basis at a clinic or physician's office. In patients whose health makes the risk of surgery unacceptably high, radiation therapy is often the chosen conventional alternative.

Radiation therapy to the prostate gland is either external or internal, both of which use high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Anyone considering surgery should be aware of the benefits, risks and the extent of the procedure.

With the advent of PSA testing, most prostate cancers are now found before they cause any symptoms. Consider articles, such as this one, just a starting point where you can begin to learn about prostate cancer. Just about all men with prostate cancer survive at least five years after their diagnosis, 93% survive at least 10 years, and 67% survive more than 15 years.
About the Author
For more information on prostate cancer treatments and prostate cancer symptoms go to http://www.BestProstateHealthTips.com Helen Hecker R.N.'s website specializing in prostate and prostate cancer tips, advice and resources, including information on prostate tests and natural prostate cancer treatments
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