What is Prostate Cancer?
A health article about Prostate Cancer from Prostate Disorders dealing with Health Problems & nutritional
Self Care Strategies
Prostate is a glandular organ present only in males. It surrounds the neck of bladder & the first part of urethra and contributes a secretion to the semen.
The gland is conical in shape and measures 3 cm in vertical diameter and 4 cm in transverse diameter. It has got five lobes anterior, posterior, two lateral and a median lobe.
Since the first part of the urethra pass through it any lesion in the prostate will produce difficulty in passing urine.
Diseases of the prostate gland:-
This is the inflammation of the prostate gland due to bacterial infection.
2) Benign enlargement of the prostate:-
This is a non cancerous tumor of the prostate seen after the age of 50.
3) Cancer of the prostate:-This is the 4th most common cause of death from malignant diseases in males.
Cancer of the prostate.
Cancer of the prostate is directly linked with the male sex hormones(androgens). If the levels of sex hormone increases the growth rate of cancer also increases. It is found that after the removal of testes there is marked reduction in the size of tumor.
Site of tumor:-
Prostate cancer is seen mainly in the posterior lobe. Non cancerous enlargement is seen in other lobes.
Changes in the gland in cancer:-
The gland becomes hard with irregular surface with loss of normal lobulation . Histologically prostate cancer is an adeno carcinoma(cancer of the epithelial cells in the gland)
Growth rate is very fast in prostate cancer .The tumor compresses the urethra and produce difficulty in urination.
Spread of tumor:-
Metastasis in cancer of prostate is very early.
1) Local spread:-
From the posterior lobe the cancer cells go to the lateral lobes and seminal vesicles. Tumour cells also move to the neck and base of the urinary bladder.
2) Lymphatic spread:-
Through the lymph vessels cancer cells reach the internal and external illiac group of lymph nodes. From there cells move to retroperitoneal (Behind the peritonium) and mediastinal lymph nodes(in the chest)
3) Spread through the blood:-
Spread of cancer cells take place through the periprostatic venous plexus and reaches the vertebral veins while coughing and sneezing and finally enders the vertebral bodies of the lumbar vertebrae.
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer:--
Signs and symptoms depend upon the stage of the cancer. The following symptoms may be seen.
1) No symptoms:-
Tumor is small and only in the posterior lobe. This is diagnosed accidentally.
2) Slight difficulty in urination:-
Here the tumor is enlarged and urethra is slightly compressed. Shortly there will be frequent urge for urination with difficult urination.
3) When the tumor spread to all nearby areas including neck of bladder and urethra there will be painful urination with bleeding. Urine comes drop by drop.
4) Retention of urine:-
When the urethra is completely compressed there will be retention of urine. This can lead to hydronephrosis, renal failure ect. In this condition patient may get convulsions due to renal failure and finally coma.
5) Signs of metastasis:-
Some patients come with the signs and symptoms of metastasis.
a) Lumbo sacral pain due to spread of cancer cells to lumbar and sacral vertebrae.
b) Fracture of spine due to cancerous growth in the spine.
c) Swelling, pain and fluid collection in the abdomen due to lesion in the abdomen.
d) Respiratory complaints due to cancer of mediastinal lymphnodes and lungs.
e) General weakness due to spread of cancer to different parts of the body.
f) Anemia due to involvement of bone marrow and increased destruction of RBCs.
Clinical examination :-
Includes per rectal examination to feel the prostate gland, palpation of abdomen to feel the swelling in kidneys and any tumours. Patient is examined from head to foot to find out any lesions.
1) Complete blood investigations;-
RBC, WBC, Platlets, ESR, bleeding time ,clotting time ect.
2) Urine analysis:-
Microscopic examination to detect pus cells, occult blood, casts, Crystals etc.
3) Renal function tests:-
Blood urea level, serum creatinine level, electrolyte level etc.
4) Serum acid phosphatase:-
Increased in cancer of prostate.
5) x-ray of the spine:-
To detect any tumor or fracture.
6) Ultra sonography ;-
Gives idea about prostate,bladder,kidney ect.
7) C T scan:-
More detailed information about organs and tumour.
8) MRI of the spine:-
Gives detailed information about spine ,disc and nearby soft tissues.
Gives idea about lymphatic spread of cancer.
10) Biopsy to confirm cancer:-
Biopsy is taken from the tumor and is send for histopathological examination under the microscope. This will detect the presence of cancer cells.
1) If there is retention of urine catheterisation is needed.
2) Dialysis if kidney failure.
3) If there is coma monitoring of all vital functions along with parentral nutrition and electolyte supply.
4) Specific treatment is prostatectomy(removal of prostate)
Partial prostatectomy :-
Here only the affected lobe is removed.
Radical prostatectomy :-
Total removal of prostate along with nearby lymphnodes.
5) Hormone therapy :-
Stilbestrol is given to reduce tumour growth.Since this treatement increases the chance for cardiovascular disease phosphorylated diethyle stilbesterol is used nowadays.
6) Chemotherapy:-Drugs like cyclophosphamide, cisoplatim etc are given.
7) Radiotherapy is also done for some cases.
Homoeopathic drugs like carcinocin, conium, sabal, crotalus, thuja, iodum, selinium, staphysagria, sulphur can be given according to symptoms. Constitutional homoeopathic medicine will give great relief and can increase the life span.
9) Yoga and meditation is also helpful.
SURVIVING PROSTATE CANCER
Chances for survival from prostate cancer are dependent on many different factors. Obviously, early diagnosis is the best case scenario. Nip it when it is still in State I or Stage II with a Gleason Score of less than seven and you are looking at optimum results using any of the three treatment options we’ve discussed: Watchful Waiting, Surgery or Radiation Therapy.
For a man who is over 70 there is a strong possibility that he might die of other natural causes rather than prostate cancer. The fact is that many men with localized Stage I or II prostate cancer ARE much more likely to die of something other than the cancer itself.
If a man with localized prostate cancer decides to take the Watchful Waiting treatment option, there is a 19% chance of metastases developing in his next 10 years
For men with Stage III prostate cancer, the prognosis is 50-50 that the cancer will progress in the next 10 years and result in death.
Stage IV prostate cancer is called metastatic prostate cancer and the most widely used treatment is hormonal which might stave off the disease for another two to three years. The likelihood of fatality within 10 years is very high.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Options:
Again, it can’t be stressed enough, early detection is imperative in combating prostate cancer. The challenge is that in the early stages there are no symptoms of prostate cancer. By the time symptoms appear in the form of urinary complications, the cancer has spread beyond the prostate.
Treatment options vary depending upon several factors such as age, overall health of the patient and whether there is evidence of bladder infection or kidney damage resulting from an enlarged prostate.
Faced with the enormity if your disease, when you add treatment options into the mix it can be overwhelming to say the least. This is why we recommend that second opinion. We will take a look at some of those options here.
Just remember, that the best option for you will be the one that you and your doctor determine is the best route for your situation. When it comes to treating prostate cancer there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.”
There are some questions that you will need to address before selecting any of the options your physician may recommend. Let’s take a look at some of those now. These shouldn’t be taken lightly, as you will be making decisions that will absolutely affect the rest of your life.
• Other than the prostate cancer, are you in good over all health?
• Is the cancer confined to the prostate?
• How fast is it growing?
• How old are you?
• Is it important for you to be able to maintain control of your bladder or bowel?
• Would you find it unsettling to live with cancer that is untreated and have to look at strict monitoring of the disease?
• Are you healthy enough for surgery?
Treatment Options for Localized Cancer
In this situation you are looking at Stage I or II based on the Gleason Score. In this particular scenario, you are looking at three different choices of treatment for treatment that can result in long term survival.
One is called Watchful Waiting; one is Surgery; and finally Radiation. Let’s explore each of these options further.
Watchful Waiting is the term coined by the medical community to describe an approach for managing cancer that has not yet moved beyond the prostate gland. This approach is also known as “observation” or “surveillance.”
Because cancer in this stage advances very slowly there is the possibility that it will not cause any lifetime problems. This is especially true of older men. Men who opt for this approach do not participate in any active treatment without cause. They visit their physicians for monitoring but unless a problem arises they have no other treatment.
If there are no indications of infection, kidney or bladder damage this can be a reasonable approach. Other obvious advantages to this approach are sparing the man pain and potential side effects related to surgery or radiation.
The down side of this approach is the risk of decreasing control of the disease before it spreads. Another minus factor is postponing treatment until a man is more at risk from the side effects and the difficulty of dealing with the treatment itself. Some men also find that dealing with the stress of having cancer and doing “nothing” about it can cause panic and anxiety.
Watchful Waiting is more viable for older men who have tumors that are very small and growing very slowly as mentioned above in the low-grade Gleason Score.
Some men who opt for this approach have been known to live for years with no outward signs of disease and in several studies for as long as 10 or 15 years, there is no significant difference in life expectancy than those men who were treated with surgery or radiation.
There is no doubt about it. Surgery is an invasive procedure. There is evidence that surgery for prostate cancer is rampant in the United States with an increase of 60% between 1984 and 1990. Contrast this with the Watchful Waiting approach used in Europe for the same stage prostate cancer. Recent studies, however, do show a decrease in the number of men having radical prostatectomy procedures.
While the medical community would like to see more incidence of the Watchful Waiting approach, patients find the approach too stressful.
Let’s discuss the actual surgical procedure. It is called a radical prostatectomy and is the complete removal of the prostate as well as tissue nearby. The procedure can be further described by the incision used to accomplish the procedure. These incisions are:
• Retropubic prostatectomy. The prostate is reached via an incision in the lower abdomen;
• Perineal prostatectomy. The prostate is reached via an incision in the perineum which is the space between the scrotum and the anus.
Radical prostatectomy consists of removing the entire prostate gland, the seminal vesicles, both of the ampullae (the enlarged lower sections of the two vas deferens which are the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the actual prostate gland) and the other surrounding tissue.
The portion of the urethra that travels through the prostate is cut away as well as the bladder neck and some of the sphincter muscle that controls urine flow.
Dissection of the pelvic lymph node is routine with a retropubic prostatectomy but with a perineal prostatectomy the dissection requires a separate incision.
A radical prostatectomy is a serious, complicated, demanding procedure. The surgery itself will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. The patient will remain in the hospital for approximately 3 days. He will require a catheter (tube to drain urine) for about 10 days to 2 weeks.
There is a small percentage (5 to 10%) of surgical related problems like bleeding or infection. The risk of death from the surgery is very minimal and much less for younger men as opposed to older men who may be frail.
Post surgical, long term problems associated with prostatectomy range from sexual impotence, stool incontinence and urinary incontinence. It is highly unlikely that a man will father children after the procedure. The reason is that without the prostate, very little ejaculate is produced.
It is common for the majority of men to experience incontinence after surgery and have occasional dribbling when coughing or exerting themselves. A few will lose all urinary permanently. Some men are candidates for an artificial urinary sphincter which is implanted surgically or narrowing the bladder opening with injections of collagen.
Stool or fecal incontinence (loss of normal muscle control of the bowels) may affect some men after their prostatectomy. This is caused by muscle damage during rectal surgery and stool incontinence is also caused because of a reduction of the elasticity of the rectum.
What this does is shorten the time period between the sensation of the stool and the need to have a bowel movement. The rectum can be scarred and stiffened by surgery or radiation.
Historically, a prostatectomy always resulted in sexual impotence. Advances in surgical procedures called “nerve-sparing surgery” may reduce the risk of impotence. The nerve sparing technique avoids cutting the two bundles of nerves and vessels that run along the surface of the prostate gland that are needed for an erection.
Unfortunately, this procedure is not viable for everyone, if the cancer is too large or if it is located too close to the nerves. Under these circumstances, even with this technique many men (especially older men) will become impotent.
The fact is that most men will lose a degree of sexual function and if a man has a problem with erections before treatment, the nerve-sparing surgery is not indicated.
The chances of impotence run the gamut from 20 to 90% depending on age, stage of the disease and the type of surgery.
Radiation therapy consists of using very high energy x-rays. They are delivered by an external beam from a machine or actually implanted in the prostate to kill cancer cells.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
This treatment can also be used to treat men whose cancer tumors have advanced into the pelvis and can’t be removed with surgery if they have no indication of lymph node invasion. Radiation therapy can also reduce tumors and relieve pain for men who have advanced disease.
External beam radiation therapy treatments are usually conducted 5 days a week for up to 6 or 7 weeks. The treatments are painless with each session lasting just a few minutes. Sometimes, if the tumor is extremely large, hormonal therapy may begin during the radiation therapy and can continue for several years.
Hormonal therapy prevents cancer cells from receiving the hormones that feed their growth. In prostate cancer, male hormones are blocked with hormonal drugs or by surgically removing the testicles.
The prime target of the external beam radiation is the prostate gland itself as well as irradiating the seminal vesicles as they are a common area of cancer spread. It was once believed that irradiating the lymph nodes in the pelvis was necessary, but the long term benefits have proven that this only applies to certain situations.
Since a radiation beam is passed through normal tissue to reach the prostate, there is the risk of killing healthy cells. Diarrhea is a side affect when radiation is applied to the rectum but diarrhea, in addition to fatigue caused by the radiation, will usually disappear when treatment is completed.
One of the long term affects of radiation is proctitus. This presents as inflammation of the rectum, bleeding, bowel problems such as diarrhea and cystitis which is an inflammation of the bladder. This usually leads to problems with urination. Radiation therapy also results in impotency for 40 to 50% of men treated.
Some of these side effects may be minimized by using higher energy radiation beams that can be more precise in targeting the affected area. Coupled with computer technology, treatments are tailored to exactly match the anatomy of the man being treated. This type of state of the art equipment is not always readily available.
Internal Radiation Therapy
Internal Radiation Therapy is a procedure that delivers a very high dose of radiation to tissue in the immediately affected area and minimizes the damage to healthy tissue like the rectum and the bladder.
This is accomplished by inserting dozens of tiny seeds that are radioactive directly into the prostate gland. The therapy depends on ultrasound or CT that guides placement of very thin needles through the skin of the perineum.
The needles deliver the tiny seeds (made up of radioactive palladium or iodine) directly into the prostate using a pre-determined, customized pattern created by extremely sophisticated computer programming. This high tech process allows the needles and seeds to directly conform to the size and shape of each prostate.
This procedure is normally completed in just an hour or two. It is done under a local anesthesia and the patient goes home the same day.
Radiation is emitted from the seeds for up to several weeks. Once insertion is complete, the seeds remain in place causing no harm whatsoever.
Some physicians use a different approach. They will use a more powerful radioactive seed and implement over several days. These are temporary implants. This procedure requires hospitalization and may be combined with low doses of external beam radiation.
Long term results are not yet in on this procedure primarily due to the fact that internal radiation therapy is still a recent process and is limited to just a few patients. However, after 5 years more than 90% of patients treated still remain cancer free.
The procedure is not recommended for large, advanced tumors or for men who were previously treated with transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). These men are at a higher risk for urinary problems.
When a man has small, well-differentiated tumors it is an option that has fewer side effects as well as being less invasive. It is less costly than external radiation or surgery and requires a shorter hospital stay.
Discomfort experienced post-implant is usually controlled by oral painkillers and a man can expect a few weeks of incontinence. Long term problems like prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) are infrequent and usually not severe in nature. Only 15% of men under the age of 70 experience sexual impotence and 30 to 35% of men over the age of 70.
Treatment options for cancer spread beyond the prostate.
In this situation the localized therapies just won’t be enough to stop the growth. This is Stage III and radiation therapy will most likely help by keeping the tumor in check. Radiation combined with hormonal therapy will help to slow the growth.
We briefly touched on this subject in the previous chapter, but now let us explore this therapy.
With hormonal therapy, the goal is to cut off all production of male hormones, such as testosterone, resulting in castration. Castration can be surgical or medical but the end result is the same and for good reason.
Prostate cancer cells can actually “feed” on male hormones causing them to grow. Blocking the hormones with an antiandrogen (drugs that block male hormones from circulating in the blood) will slow the growth of the cancer cells. This process is the equivalent of a medical castration.
There are numerous approaches to the use of hormonal therapy. Different drugs have been combined to test the results. An example of one such combination is known as maximum androgen blockade. This is a total hormonal therapy usually combined with either surgical or medical castration. An antiandrogen pill is ingested each day for months or years.
Evidence as to the efficacy of this approach has proven that there is no significant difference in the effectiveness of this process as opposed to standard hormonal therapy. However, surgical and hormonal therapies in combination do seem to relieve symptoms.
When considering surgical castration versus medical castration, it’s important to keep one fact in mind. Medical castration can be reversed simply by ending use of the drug. Oddly enough, in some cases ceasing the hormonal treatment has temporarily interrupted the growth of the cancer.
While hormonal therapy in the case of metastatic cancer seems to work, sadly, the reprise is only temporary. Remission will normally last for 2 or three years. At some point, those cancer cells that do not need testosterone to grow will begin the growth cycle again. If this takes place a second array of hormonal drugs (progesterone or hydrocortisone to name two) may be considered.
Investigating the possibility of participating in clinical trials is always an option for treatment. Clinical trials are usually new drugs, combination of drugs or mechanical in nature.
This process is used to kill prostate cancer cells by freezing them. Similar to the tiny radioactive seeds delivered through thin needles that we discussed previously, rather than seeds liquid nitrogen is passed through thin probes that are passed through needles that have been passed through the perineum directly into the prostate.
The liquid nitrogen will form a ball of ice from the cancer cells and as the frozen cells thaw out they break up. This procedure will take a couple of hours under anesthesia which can be either local or a spinal and a 1 or 2 day hospital stay.
There is a downside to this treatment. Even though a “warming catheter” is inserted into the penis to protect the urethra, the overlying nerve bundles usually freeze as well rendering the man impotent.
While chemotherapy is an aggressive approach, according to the medical community it is not necessarily effective as a choice to fight the slow growing prostate cancer cells.
This does not mean that it should be ruled out entirely. New anti-cancer drugs are always being studied and released. There are a few currently under study that are being included surgical or radiation therapy in men at Stage III prostate cancer.
Another study includes them in the regimen along with hormonal therapy. This is specifically being used for men with advanced cancer that is not responsive to hormonal therapy by itself.
Early Hormonal Therapy
Just as the name signifies, this is the practice of starting hormonal therapy immediately upon the diagnosis of prostate cancer. The goal is to slow the growth of cancer cells that have grown beyond the prostate and into surrounding tissue and even the lymph nodes. Sometimes early hormonal therapy helps in shrinking the tumor.
Conformal Radiation Therapy
Conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) is a three dimensional computer software program. It allows radiation beams to conform and shape to fit the prostate thereby accurately targeting only the prostate gland thereby minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
No matter what avenue of treatment you select for managing prostate cancer, do your very best to maintain a positive attitude. Yes, the horizon may look a bit gloomy, but with modern medicine advancements are being made every day.
Your best defense is a strong offense. Get screened as soon as possible for early detection then have regular follow-ups especially if you are in an at risk group.
Soy-Tea Combo May Thwart Prostate Cancer
Taken together, they inhibited tumor growth in mice.
By Colette Bouchez
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthScoutNews) -- The same two foods that many scientists believe reduce the risk of breast cancer in women may also protect men from prostate cancer.
That's the conclusion of a new Harvard University study that looked at the power of tea and soy to inhibit the growth of prostate tumors in mice.
Unlike other studies that examined the food's individual effects on tumor growth, the new research focused on the power that came from the combined effect of tea and soy together.
"I think the most important finding is that consumption of both soy and tea has a synergistic effect," says study author Jin-Rong Zhou, adding that each appears to reinforce the power of the other to fight cancer.
The study appears in the February issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
Zhou says he got the idea to test the soy-tea combination when statistical data showed that China had one of the lowest prostate cancer risk profiles in the world. Sensing that diet may play a key role, he dissected Chinese food habits and looked at what the men were eating most.
While a number of foods made the list, Zhou says tea and soy jumped out, mostly because previous studies showed they may possess anti-cancer properties.
"By combining the facts that soy and tea are more commonly consumed [in China] and their bioactive components are more potent than other dietary components, we proposed that they are effective dietary components, especially in combination, for prostate cancer prevention," Zhou says.
Zhou and his colleagues put their theory to the test on 16 mice, each genetically engineered to grow tumors in the prostate region. All the mice ate a diet of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, while some were also fed daily doses of soy compound in varying amounts. Infusions of both black and green tea were given to all the mice to drink.
The amount of soy consumed by the mice would be equivalent to about 250 milligrams per day for a human, while the tea dose was equivalent to about 6 to 8 cups a day, Zhou says.
At the end of the study, the mice were examined for not only the presence of prostate tumors, but also the size of the tumors, their rate of growth and how much the disease had spread. These figures were then analyzed in regard to soy and tea consumption.
What the researchers found: Individually, the soy complex, and the black and green tea reduced the rate at which tumors developed. When tumors did grow, they were smaller when either tea or soy was consumed.
However, when taken together, the tea-soy combination was even more powerful, not only at inhibiting tumor growth, but also at reducing the weight of any tumors that did develop, as well as controlling the spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes. The soy and green tea combination also reduced hormone concentrations linked to prostate cancer.
Ultimately, both tea-soy combinations inhibited angiogenesis, a process in which tumors grow blood vessels to stay alive.
The bottom line: Alone and especially together, tea and soy exhibited powerful anti-prostate cancer effects, the study says.
Since both tea and soy have been shown in other studies to yield many important health benefits, adding them to your diet in moderation could have positive results.
Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.
It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.
The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.
This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.
Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
What is the Prostate?
There was a time in history when there was no awareness of the prostate, let alone diagnosis and treatment. Countless numbers of men throughout the ages have suffered and died as a result of this ignorance.
Through the miracles of modern medicine, today prostate disease is well defined and is no longer necessarily considered a death sentence. The most effective methods for handling prostate disease are knowledge and prevention.
In our guide we will help you understand prostate disease, various diagnostic tools and provide recommendations for treatment.
(To read the rest of this article click on the Title above here.)
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