Prostate cancer It is the most common form of cancer affecting men. Regular check-ups ensure early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. After the diagnosis of prostate cancer, there are different treatment options. The treatment method to be applied is selected according to the stage of the disease, the age of the patient and the general health status of the patient.
What is cancer and why does it happen?
The body is composed of cells of very small size. These cells reproduce in a regular and controlled manner and die as they age. In cases where the control mechanism is disrupted, the cells constantly multiply and cause the formation of abnormal tissues. This abnormal tissue is called a tumor. If this tumor separates itself from the surrounding tissue, we call it a benign tumor. Tumors of benign nature are very rarely life-threatening. However, if the resulting tumor spreads to the surrounding tissue, we call it a malignant tumor. Malignant tumors can threaten a person’s life.
Cancer cells can spread to different parts of the body through blood vessels. In cancer treatment, it is aimed to control or completely destroy abnormally proliferating cells. The resulting cancer tissue is named according to the organ from which it originates. For example, a tumor consisting of the lung is called Lung cancer even if it has spread to other foci in the body.
The prostate gland is part of the male sexual system. It is a walnut-sized organ that surrounds the urethra just below the bladder, just in front of the rectum. The prostate gland secretes most of the semen. Semen fluid is necessary for the survival of sperms. The prostate gland is affected by sex-hormones. The most important sex-hormone in men is testosterone, which is produced by the testicles.
Prostate Cancer – Diagnosis
Often, early-stage prostate cancer does not show any symptoms. In order to examine the prostate, the doctor should feel the prostate gland from the anus with the finger. During the examination, the doctor pays attention to the irregularities in the prostate gland. Sometimes, prostate cancer can be found even though there is no irregularity in the examination. The growth rate of prostate cancer varies from person to person. Early detection of prostate cancer increases the success of treatment.
The most important blood test that helps us in diagnosing prostate cancer is PSA (prostatic specific antigen). High PSA or feeling irregular during the doctor’s examination require further investigations. PSA elevation is not always associated with prostate cancer.
There are tests to understand the structure of the prostate and whether it has spread;
• Bone scintigraphy and
• MR. If necessary, your doctor can take a piece of your prostate with a needle, accompanied by ultrasonography, for a cellular examination. The name of this procedure is prostate biopsy. If the biopsy results show cancer, additional tests are performed to understand whether the cancer has spread. This process is called staging. Staging is essential for proper treatment.
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer
• How much the cancer has grown
• It should be investigated whether it has spread to other organs of the body. These two pieces of information help to determine the stage of the cancer. Knowing the stage of the cancer is the most important data necessary for the doctor to plan the treatment. There are 4 stages of prostate cancer. Stage I The stage in which there are no signs of cancer and diagnosed as coincidental (operations performed as a result of prostate enlargement). Cancer tissue cannot be felt with rectal examination. Stage II Cancer is confined to the prostate and can be detected by examination. Often at this stage, the patient does not have any complaints. Stage III Cancer has spread to the tissues around the prostate. It is often accompanied by complaints such as difficulty urinating. Stage IV Cancer in the prostate spreads to other organs (lymph nodes, lungs, bones, etc.). The patient may have complaints such as difficulty urinating, weight loss, bone pain and weakness.
Treatment of prostate cancer is decided by looking at the stage of the disease, the patient’s age and general health. With the developments in medical technology and increasing knowledge, the treatment of prostate cancer can now be done much more successfully than in the past. Thousands of men with prostate cancer are living longer with less hassle. There are four treatment options;
3. Hormone therapy
4. Radiotherapy + Hormone therapy
By surgical operation cancer tissue is removed from the body. This treatment option is applied to early stage cancers. There are different methods of surgical interventions. These are open, laparoscopic or robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. These operation techniques are not superior to each other, the generally accepted surgical method lies in determining the joint preference of the doctor and the patient. In this technique, cancerous prostate tissue is removed from the area opened under the umbilicus. Radical prostatectomy is performed if the cancer tissue in the prostate does not spread beyond the prostate.
Radiotherapy It prevents the proliferation of cancer tissue and performs cancer cells with high-energy radiation. Radiotherapy is performed by focusing rays from outside of the body to the area where the prostate is, or by placing radiation-scattering materials into the prostate tissue.
Hormonotherapy inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells. Testosterone, known as the male hormone, causes the proliferation of cancer cells in the prostate. Drugs given to prevent the effects of testosterone prevent the proliferation of cancer cells. In some cases, the testicles, where testosterone is produced, are taken to reduce testosterone levels in the body. Hormone therapy is usually performed in cases where the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. It does not save the patient from cancer, but prevents its growth and prolongs life expectancy.