WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
Prostate cancer is the presence of cancer cells that are growing out of control in the prostate. Depending on the stage of development, these cells can stay in the prostate or invade nearby lymph nodes and even other organs.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra, the conduit through which urine leaves the bladder and through which semen passes during ejaculation. The prostate contains so-called glandular cells which secrete seminal fluid, as well as muscle cells which play a role during ejaculation and to control the flow of urine.
THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF PROSTATE CANCER
About 95% of prostate cancers start in the part of the prostate located against the rectum (peripheral area) from cells that secrete seminal fluid (the fluid that forms the base of semen): these cancers are called “adenocarcinomas of prostate”. These cells are sensitive to sex hormones (testosterone) and the cancers that result from them are too, which is why drugs that block the action of testosterone are used to treat them.
There are rare forms of prostate cancer that are not adenocarcinomas:
- Transitional cell carcinoma, which affects the surface layer of the prostate and most often originates from the bladder.
- sarcoma of the prostate, a cancer of the muscle cells of the prostate which affects men between the ages of 40 and 50.
- Undifferentiated small cell tumors, which can cause discomfort and mental confusion.
- Sometimes the prostate is invaded by cancer of the white blood cells (leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease).
Adenocarcinoma of the prostate should not be confused with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or “prostate adenoma”), a disease which affects all men over 70 and which corresponds to an increase in prostate cancer. the volume of the prostate. BPH affects the central part of the prostate (transitional zone) and does not develop into prostate cancer.
RISK FACTORS FOR PROSTATE CANCER
Certain risk factors for prostate cancer have been identified with certainty: age, family history and ethnicity.
- Age: Prostate cancer affects men over 70 in most cases. He is exceptional before 40 years old.
- Family history: there is a so-called familial form of prostate cancer (20% of cases) where the affected person has two cases among these first-degree relatives (father, brothers, son), and a so-called hereditary form (5 % of cases) where the affected person has at least three cases among their first- and second-degree relatives (or two cases among relatives under 55). The search for genes that promote this type of prostate cancer is ongoing.
- Ethnicity: Prostate cancer is significantly more common in men of African descent, North Europeans, and North Americans.
Other contributing factors are suspected, food: high consumption of dairy products or cold meats, smoking, obesity, etc. But confirmation of their influence requires further scientific study.
CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF PROSTATE CANCER
The triggers of prostate cancer are not precisely identified. It is believed that their occurrence is the result of the combined action of environmental factors and factors related to the genetic and physiological peculiarities of patients.
CAN PROSTATE CANCER BE PREVENTED?
No preventive measure has shown benefit in preventing prostate cancer. Regular consumption of selenium has been mentioned but a large study published in 2014 showed a significant increase in the risk of prostate cancer in people who took dietary supplements containing selenium and vitamin E. Lycopene was also mentioned., but European health authorities believe that there is insufficient evidence for this health claim to be authorized for products containing lycopene.
SYMPTOMS AND TRENDS OF PROSTATE CANCER
Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer are:
- Difficulty in urinating: frequent need, poor flow, difficulty producing a constant stream.
- Blood in urine or semen.
- Painful ejaculations with sometimes erectile dysfunction.
- Pain in the pelvis, hips or upper thighs.
When prostate cancer has invaded other organs, the patient may experience fatigue, nausea, loss of weight and appetite, pain in the bones, etc.
The five-year survival rate after a diagnosis of prostate cancer is 80%. The progression of prostate cancer is most often slow.
When prostate cancer is invasive and if left untreated, cancer cells will migrate, via the lymph circulation, to the lymph nodes which drain this region of the body, then via the bloodstream, to the liver, bones, etc. These secondary tumors are called “metastases.”