The development of prostate cancer is slow

By Dr. Petros Kitsiou

The aetiology of cancer prostate is unknown. However, there are risk factors that may lead to its development, such as age, family history, nutrition and race. In terms of the frequency with which new cases of the disease are detected, it increases with age, more than any other form of cancer. The family history, but also the diagnosis of prostate cancer at an age less than 55 years in members of the same family, increase the chance of developing the disease, while the black race seems to have an increased chance of developing prostate cancer. Usually, in the early stages of the disease there are no obvious symptoms. For this reason, several cases are detected when they have spread to parts of the body beyond the prostate. However, in cases that symptoms are presented, these may relate to:
  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate, interrupted or delayed flow of urine
  • Pain during urinating
  • Pain during ejaculation or blood in the sperm.
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain during ejaculation or blood in the semen
  • Dysfunction of erection
  • Pain in the pelvis area or in the lower back

Prevention, therefore, is considered important, in order to motivate men who are over 50 years old and especially those who have a family history, to undergo a finger prostate examination every year, as well as PSA test so that an early detection and treatment can be undertaken. PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a blood test and is considered the most useful blood test for early detection of prostate cancer. Usually, only a small amount of PSA is found in the blood, but when there is prostate cancer, this amount is increased. However, because the increase in PSA may be due to other problems, such as prostate hyperplasia (ie swelling) and prostatitis, further tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Prostate cancer screening is also a urine test, which does not show if there is cancer, but helps to rule out other diseases, which have similar symptoms. Finally, there is prostate biopsy, which will confirm the diagnosis. To obtain tissue for biopsy purposes, a rectal ultrasound is used, which is necessary so that the needles that will take tissue (cells) for biopsy can be placed accurately.

The development of prostate cancer follows a slow course; it takes years to spread and in the cases of older men, it is probable that no immediate and aggressive treatment may be necessary, but only the strategy of «simple observation». In other words, it will be necessary to carry out tests regularly, while treatment starts only when there are indications of a tumor developing. The particular strategy depends on many factors: the age of the patient, the characteristics of the cancerous cells, the size of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread to other areas, and the probabilities of complications. In other cases, a more aggressive treatment is necessary. Total prostatectomy (radical prostatectomy) is the most frequent treatment of the localized prostate cancer. The operation is usually recommended for men between the ages of 50 and 70.

For older men or those who cannot afford the operation, radiation therapy is recommended to destroy the cancer cells. In special cases where the cancer has spread, testicular removal or hormone treatment may delay the development of prostate cancer and therefore reduce or stop the cancer from spreading further. Physical activity (at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise).

Trying not to gain weight and especially belly fat, a diet without a lot of meat and animal fats, with plenty of legumes and vegetable oils, fish twice a week, reasonable consumption of alcohol and dairy, plenty of tomatoes and highly cooked and in certain people, selenium supplementation seems to be helpful for men of all ages.

Cancer can be prevented.