Find Out About Prostate Cancer
It most commonly occurs in men over 65 years of age and is rare in men under 50 years of age.
A major worry for Kiwi men is that the incidence of prostate cancer in New Zealand appears to be increasing.
This has been written to share information so that at least one Kiwi bloke can be saved and therefore able to see his children grow up.
Prostate Cancer is a “Silent Killer”
What Is The Prostate?
The prostrate is a walnut-sized gland below the bladder that produces the fluid that nourishes and protects sperm.
Its position, wrapped round the urethra, means any growth can affect urinary flow.
Who Is At Risk
About one in 13 men will develop prostate cancer before the age of 75 but Prostate Cancer can also develop in younger men, although fully developed Prostate Cancer is not common in men under 55-years of age.
We know that some men have a higher risk of getting Prostate Cancer than others with men coming from a family with history of Prostate Cancer have a higher risk.
There is also the belief that meat eaters are at a higher risk (and that includes almost all Kiwi men) and environmental influences (such as exposure to certain chemicals and smoking) are thought to increase the risk.
Causes Of Prostate Cancer
Doctors still do not know exactly what causes prostate cancer but they have identified that the growth of Cancer cells in the Prostate is stimulated by male hormones and especially testosterone.
Know The Symptoms?
One of the problems within New Zealand is that men very rarely talk about health issues and especially Prostate Cancer and therefore most Kiwi men don’t know what symptoms to look for.
Also Prostate Cancer frequently does not produce any symptoms until the condition is quite advanced.
Difficulty urinating, more frequent urination and occasionally blood in the urine are important symptoms of the disease but many men may have no symptoms until the disease is advanced.
So the most recognised symptom is a frequent need to pass urine and the need to wake up in the night to urinate. These are the common signs although these symptoms are often due to benign prostatic hyperplasia, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.
As the same symptoms can be caused by other health issues, difficulty in passing urine does not always mean that Prostate Cancer is present but it is still a good reason to get checked for Prostate Cancer.
Other less common signs include pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, impotence and hip or lower (lumbar) back pains.
Medical Treatment For Prostate Cancer
The choice of treatment will differ for each individual. A person’s age, general health, grade and stage of the cancer, symptoms, lifestyle and personal choice will all be taken into account. It is important that time is taken to consider the treatment options available. Treatment options include:
Prostate cancer is usually slow growing. If no symptoms are present the doctor may recommend no treatment apart from regular PSA blood tests and monitoring.
This approach will be most suitable for low stage (T1-2, N0, M0), low grade prostate cancers.
If the prostate cancer is causing a decreased urine flow or a complete blockage, surgery to relieve this may be required before any other treatment is undertaken.
Trans urethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical technique that allows blockages within the prostate gland to be removed. This surgery involves inserting a telescope-like instrument (resectoscope) into the penis and up through the urethra, until it is positioned within the prostate gland.
A heated wire is inserted through the resectoscope and is used to remove excess prostate tissue that may be causing a blockage or restriction in urine flow. Hospital stay after a TURP is usually 2-3 days.
In cases where the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate, surgical removal of the prostate gland may be recommended. Known as a radical prostatectomy, it involves removal of the entire prostate gland and possibly also the adjacent lymph nodes. It can be performed via an incision in the lower abdomen (retropubic approach) or via an incision in the perineal area (area between the scrotum and anus). A hospital stay of 4 – 5 days following surgery is usual.
Urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction are potential side effects of a radical prostatectomy. Surgical techniques that avoid the nerves responsible for bladder control and sexual function (“nerve sparing” surgery) can help reduce the incidence of these side effects.
Radiotherapy is the controlled use of radiation to stop the growth of cancer cells.
Radiotherapy that is administered externally and is often referred to as external beam radiation. A concentrated beam of radiation is aimed at the area over the prostate in order to destroy the cancer cells in the area.
This is usually given on a daily basis over a period of up to six weeks. The treatment will be carefully planned so that damage to healthy tissue adjacent to the tumour is limited.
Side effects can occur but should resolve when the therapy has ended. Side effects of external beam radiation as a treatment for prostate cancer may include rectal bleeding, urinary problems, chronic diarrhoea, impotence (erectile dysfunction), bowel issues (bowel dysfunction), localized burning of the skin (similar to severe sunburn) and fatigue.
Another form of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer is prostate brachytherapy.
This technique uses radioactive seeds implanted directly into the prostate gland. The radiation works in a localised area therefore decreasing the risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
The benefits of this treatment include a short hospital stay (usually overnight), no major surgical wound and a speedy return to normal activities. It is only suitable for treating cancers that have not spread beyond the prostate.
When the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, hormone treatment may be recommended.
Testosterone, the main male sex hormone, stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells. Surgery or medications that have the effect of reducing the production of testosterone may be effective in slowing down or shrinking prostate cancer.
As the testicles produce testosterone, an orchidectomy (the surgical removal of the testicles) may be recommended. Possible side effects of an orchidectomy include decreased libido, impotence and hot flushes.
Alternatively, medications that block the effects of testosterone in the body may be recommended. There are several different medications available and these may be given by injection or in tablet form. Side effects of these medications may include fatigue, hot flushes, breast development, gastrointestinal upset, and abnormal liver function.
Chemotherapy is generally only used in cases of advanced metastatic prostate cancers that have failed to respond to other treatments.
Chemotherapy medications destroy cancer cells and are usually given by mouth (orally) or directly into the blood stream (intravenously).
There are a number of herbal supplements such as Ayurstate do help certain people.
Ensure you read up about the product and share your insights with your doctor so they are kept in the loop of any herbal supplements you are consuming.
One other natural remedy you might want to consider is pomegranate juice.
Doctors often tell prostate cancer patients to drink pomegranate juice. Pomegranate is a fruit loaded with red seeds, and is extensively being used as medicine in many countries.
This fruit with antioxidant properties can inhibit cancer cell growth and retard prostate cancer progression. When consumed, it releases chemicals that kill cancer cells. It also provides anti-carcinogenic activity that restricts cancer growth.
According to some researchers the pomegranate juice compounds inhibit a protein in the bone marrow that causes Prostate Cancer (and likely other types of cancer cells) to spread to the bone.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer screening has been a controversial topicin New Zealand over the last few years. This is because the evidence on whether it is helpful to screen people is conflicting.
Traditionally, it has been recommended that digital rectal exams are used in conjunction with a PSA blood test to determine the risk of prostate cancer. However, early research showed that although these procedures increased the chances of picking up prostate cancer, it did not have any effect on decreasing death rates.
More recently, there has been convincing research from Sweden (the Gotenburg study) that has changed traditional views of prostate cancer screening.
This study followed men between the ages of 50 and 64 for 14 years. A group of these men were randomly allocated to have prostate screening using PSA blood test, while the rest did not. In those who had PSA tests done, if the levels were significantly raised, they went on to have a digital rectal exam. The study found a 50% reduction in death from prostate cancer within the group of men who had PSA screening compared to those who did not.
Based on this new research, recommendations regarding prostate cancer screening are slowly changing and the current recommendation is to have regular 2 yearly PSA blood tests from age 50 onwards This could increase chances of picking up prostate cancer early and treating it before it spreads and more importantly for most Kiwi males there may no longer be a need for a routine digital rectal exam, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
A digital rectal exam may still need to be done if an elevated PSA level is detected.
So often medical issues such as Prostate Health are only addressed when something adverse happens. New Zealanders tend to avoid doctors and ignore health issues until it impacts our way of life – and by that time it is normally quite serious.
Kiwi men will spend hours doing maintenance on their cars, their boats and their houses and totally ignore maintaining themselves – why is that?
An easy way to help prevent Prostate Cancer is to en sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to promote Prostate health and there are supplements which have been formulated specifically for this.
Ayurstate is a herbal supplement derived from India’s Ayurvedic Medicine (also called Ayurveda).
Ayurvedic Medicine is recognized as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the National Institutes of Health in the United States. It is one of the oldest medical systems (estimated to have originated 5,000 years ago). Nearly 80% of the population in India (900 million people) relies on Ayurveda exclusively or in conjunction with Western medicine.
By taking one capsule of Ayurstate in the mornings and one capsule in the evenings, the nutrients will continually work in your body to promote Prostate Health. Over a period of 4 to 6 months in conjunction with proper diet and lifestyle, you should experience improvement in Prostate related functions to include urination and ejaculation.
There is so much to live for …. living is fun!
Instead of doing nothing, do yourself a favour and try Ayurstate to improve your Prostate health and help prevent Prostate Cancer.