The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped sex gland in men that produces the seminal fluid, which nourishes and transports sperm. The growth of the cells in the prostate gland is stimulated by the male sex hormone called testosterone. Though its causes are unknown, prostate cancer is a frightening prospect for men. This cancer threatens not just their lives, but also their sexuality. Possible consequences of treatment (even if the treatment has been successful in saving a person’s life) include erectile dysfunction and bladder control problems. Prostate cancer progresses very slowly and the early stages show little or no symptoms. If detected early, effective treatment with minimum side effects is possible. Once the cancer spreads (metastizes) treatment becomes more difficult.
A man’s vulnerability to prostate cancer increases with age. Most often, prostate cancer is detected very late and people who lose their lives do not die from prostate cancer, but die WITH prostate cancer. As the cancer develops, it eventually squeezes the urethra, which surrounds the prostate. This is when signs and symptoms begin to appear:
-Urgency in urination
-Difficulty in starting urination
-Dull, persistent ache in the lower pelvic area
-Painful urination, a very slow flow (almost like a dribble)
-Intermittent urine flow, and a sensation that the bladder is not empty
-Frequent urination, sometimes including blood
-Persistent pain in the bones, lower back, hip and thighs
-General ill health, loss of appetite, and decline in weight
If the cells from the cancerous prostrate break away, the cancer will spread. Most commonly, prostate cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, bones in the hips or the lower back, lungs, and sometimes even the brain.
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