Prostate cancer, also known as “prostatic carcinoma” is a malignant tumor that develops in the prostate gland, a part of the male reproductive system.
Prostate cancer is common in men, with more than 75% of men over 65 years being affected.
One in nine males is diagnosed with prostate cancer disease at some point in their life.
The good news is that only 1 in 41 people died as a result of it.
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Understanding The Prostate
The prostate gland is a small walnut-sized organ that surrounds the urethra and is vital for reproduction.
The gland is located in men’s bodies, just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Its main job is to make a fluid that is an essential part of semen.
This fluid helps to feed and carry sperm during ejaculation.
The prostate can significantly impact a man’s life, often leading to common issues such as an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.
These conditions have the potential to affect both urinary and sexual functions.
How Does Prostate Cancer Start?
Prostate cancer usually begins when some cells in the prostate gland change their DNA.
These alterations result in uncontrolled cell growth, leading to the development of a tumor.
The exact cause of these DNA changes is often unclear, but age, family history, and certain genetic factors may contribute.
Prostate cancer typically develops slowly, and not all cases become aggressive.
How Prostate Cancer Spreads
Some prostate cancers are classified as “metastatic,” indicating their ability to grow and spread rapidly from the original site.
In more advanced stages, the prostate can spread to other body parts through a process known as metastasis.
Initially, the cancer cells begin within the prostate gland but may begin to invade nearby tissues.
These cancer cells can enter the bloodstream or lymphatic vessels as the disease progresses.
This allows them to travel to other parts of the body.
Once cancer cells reach distant organs or tissues, they may form new tumors, leading to the spread of the disease.
The most common sites for metastasis in advanced prostate cancer include bones, lymph nodes, and other distant organs.
Understanding the mechanisms of spread is essential for developing effective treatment plans and managing the progression of prostate cancer.
Regular check-ups and screenings are essential to monitor prostate health and address any potential concerns early on.
Types of Prostate Cancer
Understanding the type of cancer sheds light on the kind of cell cancer that started it, which helps your doctor choose the appropriate treatment for you.
There are different types of prostatic carcinoma.
- Acinar adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinomas develop in the gland cells that line the prostate gland. It is the most common type.
- Ductal adenocarcinoma: begins in the cells lining the prostate gland’s tubes. It grows and spreads faster than acinar adenocarcinoma.
- Transitional cell (or urothelial) cancer: Starts in the cells of the urethra. Usually, it begins in the bladder, spreads into the prostate, and may spread to nearby tissues.
- Squamous cell cancer develops from flat: Cells covering the prostate, which grow and spread more quickly than adenocarcinoma cancer.
- Small cell: A type of neuroendocrine cancer that is rare and grows more quickly than other types. It mainly affects men with advanced cancer. The Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in men with small-cell is often average, slightly higher than usual, even if it has spread.
- Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs): A rare tumor that starts in neuroendocrine cells and occur in different types. The type you are diagnosed with depends on the type of cell it started. Most NETs develop slowly over some years and may not cause symptoms in the early stages.
- Soft tissue sarcoma: These are cancers that develop in the bodies of supporting tissues such as the blood vessels, muscles, fat, and nerves. The two most common prostate sarcomas include rhabdomyosarcomas and leiomyosarcomas, affecting younger men between ages 35 and 60, with rare cases in children. Prostate sarcomas are hard to detect since they do not change PSA levels.
More in Prostate Cancer
- Causes Of Prostate Cancer
- Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer
- Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging
- After Treatment
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- Cheng HH, Nelson PS.(March 19,2019). Genetic risk factors for prostate cancer. uptodate.com/contents/genetic-risk-factors-for-prostate-cancer.
- John Hopkins Medicine (n.d). Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer. hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/prostate-cancer/active-surveillance-for-prostate-cancer
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Prostate Cancer (Nov. 12, 2020). mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087
- National Cancer Institute (March 21, 2019). Physician Data Query (PDQ). Prostate Cancer Prevention. cancer.gov/types/prostate/hp/prostate-prevention-pdq
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network(May 29, 2020) .Prostate cancer. nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/default.aspx