Prostate Cancer

Moiz Bhinderwala
Class A, Mr. Haight

What is cancer of the prostate?

Cancer of the prostate, a common form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the prostate. The prostate is one of the male sex glands and is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate is about the size of a walnut. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The prostate makes fluid that becomes part of the semen, the white fluid that contains sperm. Cancer of the prostate is found mainly in older men. As you get older, your prostate may get bigger and block the urethra or bladder, which can cause you to have difficulty urinating or may interfere with sexual functions. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and although it is not cancer, you may need surgery to correct it. The symptoms of BPH or of other problems in the prostate may be similar to symptoms for prostate cancer. Following are common symptoms of prostate cancer: weak or interrupted flow of urine, urinating often (especially at night), difficulty urinating, pain or burning when you urinate, blood in the urine, or nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis. Often there are no symptoms of early cancer of the prostate.
Samuel R. Denmeade, American Association for Cancer Research}

Stage Explanation: Judd W. Moul, Monographs in Urology 1995}

- Stages of cancer of the prostate:

Once cancer of the prostate has been found (diagnosed), tests can be done to find out if cancer cells have spread from the prostate to tissues around it or to other parts of the body. This is called "staging." It is very important to know the stage of the disease to plan treatment.
The following stages are used for cancer of the prostate:-

Stage I (A)
Prostate cancer at this stage cannot be felt and causes no symptoms. The cancer is only in the prostate and usually is found accidentally when surgery is done for other reasons, such as for BPH. Cancer cells may be found in only one area of the prostate or they may be found in many areas of the prostate.

Stage II (B)
The tumor may be shown by a blood test or felt in the prostate during a rectalexam, but the cancer cells are found only in the prostate gland.

Stage III (C)
Cancer cells have spread outside the covering (capsule) of the prostate to tissues around the prostate. The glands that produce semen (the seminal vesicles) may have cancer in them.

Stage IV (D)
Cancer cells have spread (metastasized) to lymph nodes (near or far from the prostate) or to organs and tissues far away from the prostate such as the bone, liver, or lungs.

Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the prostate or in another part of the body. Prostate staging can also be described by using T (tumor size), N (extent of spread to lymph nodes), and M (extent of spread to other parts of the body).

Treatment options for Prostate Cancer

How cancer of the prostate is treated-

Three kinds of treatment are commonly used:
- Surgery (taking out the cancer)
- Radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells)
- Hormone therapy (using hormones to stop cancer cells from growing).

Surgery is a common treatment for cancer of the prostate. The cancer may taken out using one of the following operations:
Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate and some of the tissue around it. The may be done surgery by cutting into the space between the scrotum and the anus (the perineum) in an operation called a perineal prostatectomy or by cutting into the lower abdomen in an operation called a retropubic prostatectomy. Radical prostatectomy is done only if the cancer has not spread outside the prostate. Often before the prostatectomy is done, a surgery to take out lymph nodes in the pelvis to see if they contain cancer is done. This is called a pelvic lymph node dissection. If the lymph nodes contain cancer, usually a prostatectomy will not be done. Impotence and leakage of urine from the bladder can occur