Fight prostate cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, prostate cancer is the most common in men after skin cancer. Photo: Courtesy Pinterest.

November 22, 2020

After a very active “Pink October” in relation to raising awareness about the prevention and cure of breast cancer, we are now in “Blue Month”, a propitious moment to work in the fight against prostate cancer and promote the importance of early detection of this pathology.

Today at Club de Venezolanos, we will address some research on the prevention, detection and treatment of prostate cancer, with the purpose of motivating the male population to take preventive exams.

According to statistics, prostate cancer, like breast cancer, is usually a silent disease that does not present symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Therefore, it is necessary to attend a specialist and carry out the corresponding studies, especially in the case of those with a family history.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a very common malignant tumor that generally appears from the age of 40, in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate, most frequently detected in the posterior region near the rectum, but can be located anywhere place of the prostate and even outside of it.

The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. It is located below the bladder (the organ that receives and expels urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). Its primary function is the production of most of the semen.

Symptoms

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow.
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Frequent need to urinate (especially at night).
  • Difficulty starting the flow of urine.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Blood in urine or semen.
  • Urine dribbling after bladder emptying.
  • Intermittent ejaculation

Prostate Cancer in the United States

According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, prostate cancer is the most common in men after skin cancer. By 2020, this body estimates that around 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in this country and about 33,330 deaths will be reported. It also reports that approximately one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

Their research also ensures that prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men and in black men. “About 6 out of 10 cases are diagnosed in men 65 years of age or older, and it rarely occurs in men under 40 years of age. The mean age at the time of diagnosis is approximately 66 years ”.

The American Cancer Society notes that this disease is the second leading cause of death in men in the United States, after lung cancer. “About one in 41 men will die from prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, although most men diagnosed with this cancer do not die from the disease. In fact, in the United States, more than 3.1 million men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Advances in research

According to this organism, new research revolves around the genetic changes related to this disease, which help scientists better understand its origin. This could allow the creation of drugs to attack these changes.

Testing for abnormal prostate cancer genes may also help identify high-risk men who may benefit from screening tests or clinical studies.

In men already diagnosed with prostate cancer, tests to detect certain genetic changes can help patients and their doctors estimate how likely the cancer is to grow and spread.

Prevention

Scientists have found some substances in tomatoes and soybeans that could prevent some types of prostate cancer. Studies are currently underway to examine more closely the possible effects of these components.

So far, most research suggests that a balanced diet that includes these foods, as well as other fruits and vegetables, is likely more beneficial than consuming specific substances in dietary supplements.

One vitamin that may be important in prevention is vitamin D. Some studies have found that men with high levels of this vitamin appear to have a lower risk of developing the deadliest forms of prostate cancer.

Some studies have suggested that men who regularly take certain medications (such as aspirin or statins to lower cholesterol levels) for a long time may have a lower risk of developing or dying from prostate cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm that any benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Early detection

Photo: El País.

The most common blood test to detect this pathology is the Prostate Antigen Test (PSA), however, it is not infallible to diagnose prostate cancer in its early stages. This examination must be combined with a digital rectal examination.

Another test that complements the diagnosis is the Doppler ultrasound of the gland.

Treatment

Today, treatments are being developed that have made improvements in many of the conventional methods for treating prostate cancer.

When it comes to surgery, doctors are constantly improving the surgical techniques used to try to reduce the risk of complications.

With respect to radiation therapy, advances in technology are making it possible for radiation to be more precisely targeted than in the past. Current methods such as conformal radiation therapy (CRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and proton beam radiation help clinicians avoid irradiating normal tissues as much as possible. These methods are expected to increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy while reducing side effects.

A novel treatment is high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which kills cancer cells by intense heating with ultrasound rays. It has been used in some countries and is available in the United States. Its safety and efficacy are currently being evaluated.

Another treatment used is hormone therapy. The newer drugs are abiraterone (Zytiga), enzalutamide (Xtandi), and apalutamide (Erleada).

Chemotherapy, indicated for some types of prostate cancer, can help men live longer, such as treatment with docetaxel (Taxotere) and cabazitaxel (Jevtana).

Source: María Alejandra Urdaneta / with information from The American Society Against Cancer.-

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