What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men and the second leading cause of death in cancer patients, just behind lung cancer. Prostate carcinoma mainly develops in men over the age of 50. In general, it evolves slowly. When detected at an early stage, a cure is often still possible.
The prostate (prostatic gland) is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. This gland produces a secretion which mixes with sperm and which is expelled during ejaculation. With age, the volume of the prostate often increases. This benign enlargement of the prostate causes disorders similar to those of prostate cancer, which should not, however, be confused with this disease.
Causes of prostate cancer
The precise causes of the appearance of prostate cancer remain poorly known. Men with a family history in a first-degree relative are at increased risk. It would also seem that a high consumption of meat increases the risk of onset of the disease.
Prostate cancer symptoms
Prostate carcinoma evolves asymptomatically for a long time. The following symptoms may possibly appear: weak urinary stream, more frequent urination or pain during urination. Very often, these disorders are due only to a benign increase in the volume of the prostate.
Early detection and diagnosis
It is recommended that men over the age of 50 undergo screening for a tumor in the prostate, as part of a regular preventive examination. The level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood is measured and a digital rectal examination can detect any changes in the prostate.
If cancer is suspected (raised PSA level and enlarged prostate), the diagnosis can be confirmed or ruled out by a prostate biopsy. If the diagnosis is confirmed by the biopsy, other complementary examinations will be carried out, such as a computed tomography (CT scan).
Prostate cancer treatment
The treatment of prostate carcinoma, defined on an individual basis, depends on the size of the tumor, the stage of the disease and the age of the patient.
1-Conservative treatment :
In the case of small tumors confined to the prostate, the cancer is only subject to frequent active surveillance. This often makes it possible to avoid an operation for several years, without the patient’s chances of survival being impacted.
2-Surgical treatment :
Surgery is only done if the tumor begins to spread into surrounding tissue or if it is an aggressive primary tumor that is growing rapidly. Thanks to new intervention techniques, complications following the operation, such as erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence, are increasingly rare.
Further information on the possibilities of surgical treatment can be found in the chapter on prostate surgery. Prostate tumors that have already metastasized or spread to surrounding tissue can be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or anti-hormonal therapy.
CARE AND SUPPORT, FOLLOW-UP DURING AND AFTER TREATMENT
*The team that follows you is made up of professionals from different specialties: urologist, medical oncologist, radiotherapist oncologist… These professionals work in collaboration within the health establishment in which you receive your treatments and in conjunction with your attending physician and the local health professionals.
*Your care is not limited to specific cancer treatments. In a global approach, additional care and support may be necessary to manage the possible consequences of the disease and its treatments: pain, fatigue, sexual disorders, urinary disorders, eating disorders, psychological or social difficulties, etc.
*Even during the course of care, quitting smoking is always beneficial. It positively influences tolerance to treatments and the prognosis of your disease. And that whether your cancer was diagnosed a long time ago or very recently.
*The practice of an adapted physical activity also contributes to improving your quality of life throughout the course of care and the response to treatment.
*In addition, cancer and its treatments can affect your diet. Nutritional support can be useful for preventing, detecting or treating undernutrition or, conversely, overweight.