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Prof. Dr. Mustafa SOFİKERİM | Urology

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland in men. The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland just below the bladder, contributing to the structure of the semen. In men, the second most common type of cancer after lung cancer. Some types of prostate cancer develop slowly and do not cause serious harm. Some types, however, are more aggressive, especially those starting at a young age, and can spread quickly.

Causes of Prostate Cancer

This type of cancer predominantly affects older men. Approximately 85% of cases present in men over 65 years of age. In people with a family history of prostate cancer, the probability is increasing. Even today, the reasons for the occurrence of prostate cancer are completely unknown. The person's diet system is one of the important factors. In those who eat fat red meat, the risk increases. Again, meats cooked at high temperature also contribute to this type of cancer by producing a number of combustion products. Depending on these data, the disease is much more common in countries fed mainly with meat and dairy products than those fed with rice, soybeans and vegetables.

Hormones also play an important role in this disease. Especially with excessive consumption of fats, the amount of testosterone in the body increases. This accelerates the growth of prostate cancer.

In some occupational groups, there are vocational hazards involved. For example, welders, those who work in battery production, and those who work in tire production, and those who work in cadmium-metal jobs, are still more open to prostate cancer. A person's lifestyle is also an invitation to prostate cancer. Aspirin, finasteroid, cholesterol-lowering drugs and triglyceride-lowering drugs, are some medicines people can use as a risk-reducing effect. However, it should be known that, as in other disease states, it is unthinkable for any person to use these drugs on their own without consulting the physician. Consumption of some vegetables such as tomato sauce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can contribute positively to the reduction of risk.


Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

In the early stages, there may be no indication of prostate cancer. When the disease progresses, the effects of obstruction in the urinary tract are manifested in ways similar to benign prostate enlargement: frequent urination, especially at night, difficulties in initiating or stopping urination, weak or incontinent urine flow, pain or burning sensation during urination or discharge.


Prostate Growth or Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer may cause symptoms similar to prostate cancer, as men grow older so that the prostate can grow, sometimes by pressure on the bladder or urethra. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Another problem that may cause similar symptoms is prostatitis. Prostatitis is not cancer and it can be treated by way of medicine.

Risk Factors You Can't Control

Age of the patient: After the age of 50 and especially after the age of 70 years, the development of prostate cancer rapidly increases.

Family history: Increases the risk of prostate cancer in men. In men with prostate cancer, the risk increases by two to four times.

Race: African-Americans are at high risk and constitute the most common population of prostate cancer in the world.


Risk Factors You Can Control

The diet is known to play a role in the development of prostate cancer. Meat and high-fat dairy products are more common in consuming countries. The reason behind this connection is uncertain. Fat in the diet, especially animal fat from red meat, can increase the levels of male hormone. This may stimulate the growth of cancerous prostate cells. Fruits and vegetables can play a role in a very low diet. Processed meat products such as white flour, white rice, multi-fat red meats, salami and sausage can be included in the “to be avoided list” in the diet. It is recommended to consume a wide variety of fruits according to season with whole wheat products, plenty of green and colored vegetables. Examples include spinach, broccoli, tomato and citrus fruits.


Some Rumors about Prostate Cancer

Here are some things that are not certain to cause prostate cancer: too much sex, vasectomy, and masturbation. None of this has been proven. The presence of BPH (benign prostate enlargement) in a person does not mean that there is a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Whether alcohol use, sexually transmitted diseases or prostatitis play a role in the development of prostate cancer is still under investigation.


Can Prostate Cancer be Detected Early?

Some screening tests can be used for early diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, tests may also detect slow developing cancers, which sometimes do not need to be treated. Serious side effects may occur in unnecessary treatments. Tests should be made after the age of 40 with a doctor's recommendation. Especially in men who are in risk group, tests are important. (Like age and family resume...)


Screening: Rectal Examination and PSA Determination

The prostate is examined by a method called rectal examination (rectal touch). With the guidance of your doctor, a blood test is performed on the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This test is performed to measure a protein produced by prostate cells. A high value in the test may indicate the possibility of cancer. However, not every PSA elevation means prostate cancer. Conversely, although normal PSA levels are evident in the test, the presence of prostate cancer is also possible.