Symptoms and treatment of prostate cancer
The prostate gland is found only in men, and it produces the thick, clear fluid base for semen. Abnormal malignant (harmful) growths in the prostrate are called prostate cancer. An enlarged prostate gland, which often occurs as you age, is not necessarily a sign of prostate cancer, but there are some symptoms you should be aware of that could indicate a prostate problem.
If you have to hurry to the toilet to pass urine and then struggle to empty your bladder, feel pain in passing urine, need to urinate more frequently or see blood in your urine then you must consult a medical practitioner for advice. These symptoms can also be indicative of a urinary tract infection, which is easily treated with antibiotics, or an injury to the kidneys, which normally heals in a week or two.
Prostate cancer that goes undetected can spread to other areas of the body, which may produce additional symptoms. Most commonly the cancer cells spread into nearby bones, and may cause aches and pains in the spine and hips.
Visiting your doctor for a correct diagnosis will put your mind at rest and ensure you are getting the right treatment.
Prostate cancer is slow to develop, and there are several treatments available. Surgery to remove the prostate gland is a common way to remove the tumor from the body. A biopsy can determine how far the cancer has progressed and will indicate whether cancer cells may have spread to other parts of your body. If any spread of the cancer is suspected then your oncologist will suggest an ideal form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy to destroy those cancer cells and protect your other tissues from tumors.
The treatments for prostate cancer are not without their side effects. After the prostate is removed there is a high risk of impotence, and urinary incontinence may occur. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy, while improving all the time, can be very trying, painful and traumatic. Open communication, not only with your health practitioner but also with your family and friends, will help you to cope with any potential side effects of treatment. Remember that you are not alone. Joining support groups allows you to meet people who are sharing your experiences, and may give you a better understanding of how to manage your own recovery.
As a patient, there are several lifestyle changes and choices that you can do to aid the efficiency of these treatments and give yourself a better chance of a complete recovery:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and exercising regularly reduces your risk of developing cancer. It also means that should you develop any form of cancer, your body is physically fit and more able to cope with the potential strains of the disease. It's also important to avoiding smoking and drinking. This will reduce the stress on your body, particularly your liver.
- Listening to your body after surgery and / or chemotherapy or other cancer treatment is essential. Pushing yourself too hard will only slow your recovery and prolong your discomfort. Rest, focus on recuperating and try not to worry.
- Patients who are diagnosed early have a better prognosis after treatment because the cancer has had less time to grow, and the chance that it has spread to other areas in your body is reduced. Be aware of your own health, including whether anyone else in your family, such as your father, has suffered from prostate cancer, and always consult a medical practitioner if have any concerns. Your good health is in your own hands, and it is better to have your mind put at rest than to live with a potentially life-threatening disease in silence.
By A. Bertram
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