Prostate Cancer is a severe disease which mainly affects middle-aged men and older-aged men. However, in recent times, studies indicate an increase in cancer cases in younger men belonging to the age group of 35-44 and residing in metropolitan cities. The level of awareness of the seriousness of the disease in India is inadequate, partially fueled by the stigma attached to the disease. Most people who show prostate issues are reluctant to approach a doctor, making the condition highly risky. Situated in a man’s lower abdomen, the prostate is a small gland, an essential part of the male reproductive system. It is precisely located under the bladder and surrounding the urethra. It regulates the male hormone testosterone and produces seminal fluid known as semen. Semen is the discharge substance which contains sperm that passes through the urethra during ejaculation.
The prostate can be affected by various ailments, but three of the most common medical conditions are benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH), Prostate Cancer and inflammation (Prostatitis). A cluster of abnormal and malignant growth of cells turns into a tumour in the prostate and is diagnosed as prostate cancer. These cancerous cells can spread to other regions of the body; if the diagnosis is not made on time, it could lead to fatal complications. If the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage when it is limited to only the prostate gland, complete recovery chances are higher. The treatment can vary depending on the nature of the tumour. The treatment plan can be either radiation and therapy to kill the cancer cells or remove the body's malignant gland through surgery.
Doctor Priyank Salecha, Urologist and Andrologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Kondapur Hyderabad has listed a few warning signs that would lead to an early diagnosis:
- Frequent Urination at night time: When the prostate is enlarged due to inflammation, it exerts extra pressure on the urethra and blocks the urine flow. This irritates the bladder wall and results in contractions in the bladder even before the bladder is full. This creates the sensation for one to urinate more. The condition usually takes a toll on the bladder during night times.
- Stiffness and pain in the lower body: An infection in the prostate gland can cause stiffness and pain in the prostate areas like lower hips, pelvic area and rectum. When cancer advances, the condition worsens, and in most cases, it causes sharp pain and pressure along the perineum region covering both the penis and scrotum.
- Painful ejaculation: The prostate gland is an integral part of the male reproductive system which produces semen for ejaculation. When the tumour is pressing on the gland, it causes pain and burning sensation while ejaculating. This can also cause erectile dysfunction in many cases.
- Loss of bladder control: When the cancerous tumour obstructs the prostate gland, it can lead to several critical issues like painful urination, pain while standing up to urinate, and a weak stream while urinating and losing bladder control.
- Spotting of blood in urine or semen: If blood is found when discharging urine and semen, it should raise the alarm as it can indicate the cancerous tumour's aggressive progress.
- Increased pressure on rectum: An enlarged prostate gland puts additional pressure against the rectum and sometimes causes unbearable pain.
Although the chances of these signs indicating prostate cancer are very high, there can be cases when they can be signs for other prostate-related disease or infection. Hence, it is critical to get the prostate checked from a qualified physician at regular intervals, without waiting for a warning sign. Early detection of prostate cancer can save painful consequences and lives.
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