WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER? | Dr. Yeibake Weriwoyingipre Silver

Good day. 
Did you know September is prostate cancer awareness month?


Prostate cancer, the fourth most common cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the prostate gland, which is a small walnut-shaped gland in males that produces seminal fluid (the milky liquid that contains sperm). It is the most common cancer among Nigerian males, constituting about 11% of all male cancers. Worldwide, roughly 1.4 million men are affected. 

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, and it usually grows slowly and remains confined to the prostate gland in the early stages. However, in some cases, it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lymph nodes, or other organs.

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but certain risk factors have been identified. These include age (risk increases with age), family history of prostate cancer, race (African-American men are at higher risk), and certain genetic factors. Some studies have also suggested a link between diet, obesity, and prostate cancer.

Black males are 50% more likely than white men to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it.

In its early stages, prostate cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms. As the cancer progresses, symptoms may include difficulties with urination, such as weak or interrupted urinary flow, frequent urination (especially at night), blood in the urine or semen, pain or discomfort in the pelvic area or lower back, and erectile dysfunction.

If prostate cancer is suspected, doctors may perform a physical examination, including a digital rectal exam, as well as blood tests to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is a special type of chemical produced by the prostate gland in small amounts. Further diagnostic tests, such as a prostate biopsy or imaging scans, may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the cancer.

Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on several factors, including the stage and grade of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and personal preferences. Treatment options may include active surveillance (monitoring the cancer without immediate treatment), surgery to remove the prostate gland (prostatectomy), radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy. 

The best treatment approach is determined on an individual basis after a thorough discussion with the healthcare team.

Regular screenings and early detection are crucial in managing prostate cancer. Men aged 50 and older should discuss the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening with their doctors, and those with higher risk factors may need to start screening at an earlier age.

Author: Dr. Yeibake Weriwoyingipre Silver

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