The word “prostate” originated from Ancient Greek meaning “one who stands before”, “guardian”, or “protector”. It is a gland found in the male reproductive system and functions to secrete a milky white slightly alkaline fluid that constitutes approximately 30% of the semen. The alkalinity is important as it helps to neutralize the acidity of the vagina and therefore, increases the lifespan of the sperm for fertilization. Prostate cancer occurs when cancer occurs in the small walnut shaped gland. It is one of the commonest types of cancer in men. Since most prostate cancer has a slow growth, it is usually initially confined to the prostate without causing invasion or spread. However, there are also other types that can be aggressive and spread quickly.
Risk factors include advancing age, positive family history, and race. Other factors that may be involved are having a diet high in red meat, processed meat, milk products and low in vegetables. The diagnosis of prostate cancer is achieved through biopsy and medical imaging is utilized to assess the spread and invasion of the cancer to other parts of the body. Prostate specific antigen is a tumor marker that can increase the detection of prostate cancer, but the improvement of prognosis is controversial. Treatment and management includes watchful waiting, or a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy. Medications prescribed depend on the severity and spread of the disease.
Prostate Cancer Symptom #1: Difficulty Urinating
Patients with prostate cancer may have difficulty urinating as they often feel the urge to urinate but sometimes there may be little to no urine. It may also stop midstream. Increased frequency (having the need to go to the bathroom more often) is also another sign. There may be difficulty stopping the pee leading to extended dribbling and sometimes the sensation that you still need to pee even after you have just visited the bathroom.
Since the prostate gland anatomically surrounds the urethra, even a small growth can cause issues with urination and ejaculation. However, the enlargement of the prostate gland is common in men as they age, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia which can also cause urinating difficulties. It is important to distinguish between the two conditions.