Prostate cancer: Risk factors & prevention

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Dr Vikas Sharma & Chandan Thappa

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly occurring type of cancer in men and the fourth most commonly diagnosed type of cancer overall. Prostate cancer occurs when an abnormal cell growth results in the formation of a tumour in the prostate. The prostate gland is located just below the bladder that surrounds the urethra. It is walnut-shaped and is located in a man’s lower abdominal area. It is primarily responsible for the production of seminal fluid. Prostate cancer is classified into two types: aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer. Prostate cancer that is aggressive is often referred to as fast-growing prostate cancer. The tumor develops quickly in this form of cancer and is highly likely to spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones. Tumor development is much slower in non-aggressive or slow-growing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages. Prostate cancer that’s more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, bone pain, losing weight without trying and erectile dysfunction. The exact cause of prostate cancer has not yet been conclusively diagnosed. However, doctors say that many factors can lead to prostate cancer. It is the cancerous cells’ growth due to DNA mutations that cause prostate cancer in men. The DNA mutations are responsible for the way that the cancer cells keep growing abnormally. These cells keep on dividing faster than your normal cells until tumour forms in the prostate gland. One particular point to note is that these abnormal cells live longer and when they metastasize, then they can spread to your other body parts.
Risk factors: As you get older, your chances of developing prostate cancer increase. After the age of 50, it becomes more common. If a blood relative has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, such as a parent, sibling, or child, your risk may be increased. Additionally, if you have a strong family history of breast cancer or a gene that increases the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2), your risk of prostate cancer may be higher. Obese people may have a higher risk of prostate cancer than people who are considered to be of normal weight, though studies have yielded mixed results. Obese people are more likely to have cancer that is more aggressive and that returns after treatment.
Some studies have reported that men who eat high-fat dairy products and red meat more often are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Complications: Prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs, such as your bladder, or travel through your bloodstream or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs. Prostate cancer that spreads to the bones can cause pain and broken bones. Once prostate cancer has spread to other areas of the body, it may still respond to treatment and may be controlled, but it’s unlikely to be cured. Prostate cancer and its treatment, such as surgery, radiation or hormone therapy, can cause erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can be treated with medications, vacuum devices that aid in erection and surgery. Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause urinary incontinence. Treatment for incontinence depends on the type you have, how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve over time. Treatment options may include medications, catheters and surgery.
Preventative measures: To lower the risk of prostate cancer, one should consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Consume a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Many vitamins and nutrients are found in fruits and vegetables, which can benefit your health. The possibility of preventing prostate cancer through diet has yet to be proven conclusively. However, eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables can help to improve your overall health.
Supplements should be avoided in favour of healthy foods. Supplements have not been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in studies. Instead, eat foods that are high in vitamins and minerals to keep your vitamin levels balanced in your body. Exercise benefits your overall health, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lifts your spirits. Make an effort to exercise on most days of the week. If you’re new to fitness, begin slow and build your way up to more exercise time each day.
If your present weight is healthy, try to sustain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, do extra exercise and reduce the amount of calories you consume per day. Ask the doctor for advice making a prescription for safe weight loss. Talk to the doctor about the chance of prostate cancer. If you have a very high risk of prostate cancer, you and your doctor may consider medications or other treatments to reduce the risk. Some studies suggest that taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, including finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer. These drugs are used to control prostate gland enlargement and hair loss.