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The prostate is a gland the size of a walnut that is found within the male reproductive system. The role of the prostate gland is to make and store seminal fluid. Prostate cancer is a form of cancer involving a growth that originates in the prostate region. It can begin as tumor cells in the prostate area and spread to other parts of the body, including the bones and lymph nodes. If allowed to spread to this level, this cancer is fatal.
Most commonly occurring in men over 50 years old, the signs of prostate cancer include difficulty with urination, pain, mild impotence, and blood in the urine. During the early stages, however, there are usually no warning signs or symptoms. Fortunately, a medical professional can easily diagnose this type of cancer during its early stages with a routine prostate checkup. This checkup consists of a rectal exam and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
Prostate cancer begins when prostate gland cells change into cancer cells. The small amount of cancer cells found in the prostate begin to multiply and eventually spread. These cells spread to the prostate tissue, where a tumor is formed.
Many factors can increase the risks of a man developing this type of cancer. Age is one factor, as is genetics. If one family member has or had it, it is likely another male relative will also develop it.
A man’s diet is another potential risk factor for prostate cancer. Lack of vitamin E, in particular, appears to increase the risk. Vitamin E is usually found in green vegetables, tomatoes, and some seafood. Low blood levels of vitamin D may also lead to a higher cancer risk.
On the other hand, regular intake of aspirin, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory medications can decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Drugs aimed at lowering cholesterol levels have also shown promise in their ability to lower the risk.
With prostate it is not always clear what is the best approach to take. Is radiation better, or surgery, or waiting and watching?
According to a UCLA study, there are different approaches to this issue in different parts of the country. For example doctors on the west coast will opt for surgery more often than on the east coast.