During their lifetime, 1 out of every 6 men gets prostate cancer. This disease, which causes the most common cancer deaths after lung cancer in men, can be successfully treated when diagnosed early. For this reason, it is very important for early diagnosis that every man aged 50 and over has annual regular checks.
What is the prostate? What are its functions?
The prostate is a walnut-sized (18-20 gr) glandular tissue located just below the urinary bladder in which some of the semen (semen) content is produced in men. The fluids secreted by the prostate gland enable the semen to become fluid in the vagina, and at the same time ensure that the sperms survive in the vaginal environment thanks to the substances it contains.
Which diseases related to prostate are seen?
There are 3 common diseases of the prostate: prostatitis (prostatitis), benign prostatic hyperplasia (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer.
Prostatitis is an inflammatory disease of the prostate and surrounding tissues, and often affects young and reproductive men. Fever, weakness, burning while urinating, difficulty urinating, urgent need to urinate, bloody urine, pain around the anus, painful ejaculation and erection problems are the most common symptoms.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition characterized by the inability to pass urine comfortably as a result of the pressure on the urinary canal surrounding the growing prostate with age. This situation manifests itself with complaints such as weak urine flow, intermittent urination, feeling of incomplete voiding, frequent urination, night urination, sudden urgency, blood in the urine. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a very common condition after the age of 50, but requires treatment when it damages the body or causes symptoms.
Prostate cancer is a separate disease that can co-exist with benign prostate hyperplasia, but is not caused by it, by the age group it affects (men over 50 years old). It often causes no symptoms or signs until it reaches advanced stages. For this reason, it is recommended that every man over the age of 50 should go to a urologist at least once a year for prostate control, whether or not he has any complaints about urine.
Why is early diagnosis and awareness important in prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in western countries, according to data from the American Cancer Society, and it accounts for about a quarter of all cancer cases. In our country, it is one of the most frequently observed cancer types together with lung and bladder cancer in men. In recent studies, although a man’s lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer is between 15-20%, the risk of death due to this disease is reported to be around 3%. This is related to the fact that although prostate cancer is a very common cancer, it has a very high chance of recovery, especially when it is diagnosed at an early stage and a correct treatment scheme is applied.
Prostate cancer does not have typical early symptoms and it manifests itself only with complaints that occur in the advanced period. At this stage, it may not be possible for the person to get rid of this disease. For this reason, it is very important to detect the disease at an early stage when it is limited to the prostate, that is, it does not give any clinical symptoms. Even if men do not have any complaints, it will be possible to apply to a urologist once a year for prostate examination after the age of 50 only by raising awareness of this disease.
What are the risk factors in prostate cancer?
As with many types of cancer, no single agent or process responsible for this disease has been identified. However, there are three definite risk factors for prostate cancer. These are age, ethnicity, and genetics.
Prostate cancer incidence increases with increasing age. For example, only 2% of all cases are under the age of 50. In epidemiological studies, it has been shown that prostate cancer has both familial inheritance and genetic aspects. For this reason, it is recommended that people with prostate cancer in their family should be screened at an earlier age and at more frequent intervals compared to the normal population. For the ethnic origin, it is most common in the black population living in America, and lowest in Easteern Asia. However, when a person of East Asian origin immigrates to America, it has been shown that the risk of prostate cancer increases again. This suggests that environmental factors other than ethnicity (diet with high fat and low fibrin) constitute a risk factor in the development of prostate cancer.
How is prostate cancer determined?
Measuring the blood level of a protein called PSA, which is secreted from the prostate and passes into the blood to a certain extent, and finger examination of the prostate from the anus are the first step in diagnosis. A high PSA level does not mean that it is absolute cancer, while a low level does not mean that there is no cancer. However, if findings that may cause suspicion of prostate cancer are detected in these two examination methods, tissue sampling with prostate biopsy is required to make a definitive diagnosis.
What are the treatment options?
The choice of treatment in prostate cancer is made by considering the pathological characteristics of the tumor (stage, grade, etc.) as well as the age and general health status of the patient. There are treatment options such as surgical treatment (radical prostatectomy), radiotherapy (radiotherapy), hormone therapy, drug therapy (chemotherapy) or active follow-up. Considering the above-mentioned criteria, a decision made jointly by the patient, his family and the doctor will be the best approach.