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The prostate gland is a small walnut-shaped organ that produces seminal fluid which carries the sperm and also provides them nourishment.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of prostate cancer in men. The progress of prostate may take years and so symptoms may not be evident until it has reached an advanced stage. Also, prostate enlargement is an extremely common condition in most elderly men. This condition is known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). The symptoms produced by prostate enlargement are similar to those of prostate cancer in the earlier stages. Therefore, men may confuse the cancer symptoms with BPH symptoms and often ignore the same. For most men, BPH is part of ageing and night-time visits to the bathroom are quite common.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can be clubbed into two broad categories – urinary and others.
Urinary symptoms are due to the enlarged prostate gland pressing on the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside. These include:
- Burning sensation with urination
- Painful urination
- Difficulty in starting and stopping a urine stream
- Dribbling in between a stream
- Inability to control a stream, often causing urine to leak before reaching the toilet
- Increased urgency to urinate, especially at night
- A reduced flow of urine
- Lack of control over bladder
- Presence of blood in the urine, often giving it a pinkish hue
Non-urinary symptoms include:
- Presence of blood in the semen, which again may have a pinkish tinge
- Erectile dysfunction
- Delayed ejaculation
- Painful ejaculation
- Numbness in the legs, feet, or hips
In addition, there would also be generalized symptoms of cancer, including:
As noted above, these symptoms are not indicative of prostate cancer. Even prostate infection or in older men prostate enlargement can cause these symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to correlate these symptoms with risk factors and clinical diagnosis.
Risk factors include age, family history, poor diet choices, higher testosterone levels, prostatic neoplasia, and presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Clinically, when a patient experience any of the above symptoms, the doctor would need to confirm the diagnosis via:
- Digital rectal examination, which will confirm that the prostate is enlarged indeed
- Chemical tests to check for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) which is often increased with any disease of the prostate
- A biopsy to identify the presence of cancerous cells
A combination of clinical presentation, lab, and imaging will help in confirming the diagnosis. Earlier the diagnosis, better is the prognosis.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Colon cancer is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon). In most cases it begins as a non-malignant group of cells called polyps, which may turn cancerous over time. After the formation of the malignant tumors, the cancerous cells may spread to other parts of your body through lymph and blood channels. It can occur together with rectal cancer and is known as colorectal cancer.
Causes of Colon Cancer
The occurrence of colon cancer may depend on the presence of precancerous polyps in the colon. Adenomas polyps may turn cancerous, but are removable through colonoscopy. Hyperplastic polyps rarely become cancerous, whereas inflammatory polyps may become cancerous after the inflammation of the colon.
Other risk factors that may influence the occurrence of colon cancer are,
- Genetics: About 20% colon cancers are thought to be caused by mutation of the genes.
- Age: Those over the age of 50 are more likely to develop colon cancer, though now it is also increasingly affecting younger people.
- Lifestyle: It is more likely to affect people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, smoke tobacco or are obese.
- Diet: It is more likely to affect those whose diets are high in red meats, calories, and fat while being low in fiber. Alcohol consumption may also affect its occurrence.
- Medical conditions: People who suffer from diabetes, acromegaly (growth hormone disorder) and colitis etc, may also be prone to develop colon cancer.
Warning Signs of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer generally goes undetected in the early stages. The symptoms vary with the location, spread and size of the tumor. In the earlier stages of cancer, most people experience no symptoms, but in the later stages they may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation or change in consistency of stools; lasting more than a month
- Blood in stool or bleeding from the rectum
- Pain during passage of stool
- Pain, cramps or gas in the abdominal region
- Frequent urges to pass stool
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Unexpected weight loss
However, these symptoms may not necessarily indicate colon cancer. They can occur in the absence of colon cancer too. It is confirmed by colonic biopsy and histopathological examination. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.
In my ultrasound my prostrate size found is 22gm. My age is 29. Please suggest a medicines and reason for this enlarged prostate.
I have lumps on breast they always come back leave scars do not form heads open and close up on there own.
What are the causes?
Bladder cancer can be caused by environment-related factors and smoking. In fact, smoking tobacco is one of the major causes of bladder cancer around the world. The chemicals present in tobacco can irritate the bladder lining which ultimately leads to bladder cancer. It may also be caused by continuous exposure to chemicals such as dyes or leather dust and radiation. These chemicals tend to cause unusual changes in the cells of the bladder lining and causes cancer in the bladder.
It can also be caused by modifications in the dna in the cells of the bladder which may impair the functioning of the cells in the body. This can cause mutations in the bladder resulting in cancer.
What are the symptoms?
1. Presence of blood in the urine, often painless
2. Feeling of pain while passing urine
3. Back pain
4. Excessive urination
5. Infections in the urinary tract
6. Lower leg swelling
7. Pain in the bones, especially in the pelvic area
8. Weight loss
Treatments for bladder cancer depend on the stage of the cancer. The various treatment choices are:
Surgery - In some cases, these cancers are surgically removed by a surgeon. A type of surgery used is transurethral resection of bladder tumor (turbt) where the cancer cells are destroyed with laser by passing a thin fiber into the bladder.
Chemotherapy - In this method, medications are used to target and destroy cancer cells.
Radiation therapy - Radiation therapy uses rays such as x-ray or uv rays to destroy cancer cells in the body
Immunotherapy - This treatment boosts the immune system of the body so that it attacks the cancerous cells in the bladder. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an urologist.
I am 44 years old woman. I am feeling very slight pain in my left breast on left side. It is not regular pain. If I touch it while changing my cloths or sleep on the left side. Please suggest is there any problem.
Cancer is the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in a particular body part. With continued growth, pieces of this tissue travel through the blood to different body parts and continue to grow in the new area. This is known as metastases. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and affects about 1 in 8 women in the USA. Read on to know more details of breast cancer – breast anatomy, causes, symptoms, risk factors, detection, prevention, and of course treatment.
Anatomy: The main function of the breast is lactation through its milk-producing tissue that are connected to the nipple by narrow ducts. In addition, there is surrounding connective tissue, fibrous material, fat, nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic channels which complete the structure. This is essential to know as most breast cancers develop as small calcifications (hardened particles) in the ducts or as small lumps in the breast tissue which then continues to grow into cancer. The spread can happen through lymphatic or blood flow to other organs.
Warning signs/symptoms: The following are some symptoms that need to be watched out for if you have a predisposition to breast cancer.
- A lump in either of the breasts or armpits
- Change in size, shape, or contour of either breast
- Redness of your breast or nipple
- Discharge of clear or bloody fluid
- Thickening of breast tissue or skin that lasts through a period
- Altered look or feel of the skin on the breast or the nipple (dimpled, inflamed, scaly, or puckered)
- One area on the breast that looks very different from the other areas
- Hardened area under the breast skin
Either one or a combination of these should be an indication to get a detailed checkup done. Early diagnosis results in controlling the disease with minimal treatment and reduced complications.
Causes and risk factors: The exact cause for breast cancer is yet to be pinned down. However, risk factors are clearly identified, and women with risk factors need to watch out for warning signs.
- Family history: Of all the risk factors, the family history is the most important. Breast cancer runs in families, and if there is a first-degree relative with the breast cancer, the chances of developing it are almost double. Two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the carriers of the disease, and this testing can be done in women to identify if they are at risk.
- Family history of other cancers: Even if there is no breast cancer, if there are other cancers that run in the family, watch out.
- Age: Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian and Jewish women are at higher risk of breast cancer than African-American women.
- Hormones: Greater exposure to the female hormone estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Women who use birth control pills for contraception and hormone replacement after menopause are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Gynecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones need to watch out. These include those who attain menarche before 12 years of age, get pregnant after 30, attain menopause after 55, and have menstrual cycles shorter than 26 days or longer than 29 days.
- Obesity and alcohol abuse are also likely to increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
Stages: Starting from stage 0, higher stages indicate advanced disease.
- Stage 0: The growth which has begun in the milk-producing tissue or the ducts has remained there (in situ) and not spread to any other area, including the rest of the breast.
- Stage I: The tissue slowly becomes invasive and has begun to affect the surrounding healthy tissue. It could have spread to the fatty breast tissue and some breast tissue may be found in the nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage II: The cancer at this stage grows considerably or spreads to other parts. There are chances that cancer may grow and also spread.
- Stage III: It may have spread to the bones or other organs but small amounts are present in up to 9 to 10 of the lymph nodes in the armpits and collar bones which makes it is difficult to fight.
- Stage IV: The cancer is widespread to far-flung areas like the liver, lungs, bones, and even the brain.
Screening: This is one of the most effective ways to identify the disease in its early stages. This will help in controlling cancer from spreading with minimal treatment.
- Self-examination: A thorough self-examination to look for changes in terms of shape, size, colour, contour, and firmness should be learned by all women. Watch for any discharge, sores, rashes, or swelling in the breasts, surrounding skin, and nipple. Examine them while standing and when lying down.
- In most women, annual screening mammograms are advised after the age of 40. However, in women who have a strong family history or genetic makeup, it is advisable to have screening mammograms starting at age 20 every 3 years and then annually from the age of 40.
- Women in high-risk categories should have screening mammograms every year and typically start at an earlier age.
- Ultrasound screening can also be given in addition to mammograms.
- Breast MRI is another way to screen for breast cancer if the risk is greater.
Breast Cancer Prevention: Now that there is so much awareness about causes and risk factors, there are definitely ways to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
- Exercise and a healthy diet with reduced amount of alcohol are definitely effective in minimising the chances of developing cancer.
- Tamoxifen is used in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
- Evista (raloxifene) which is used to treat osteoporosis after menopause. It is also widely used in preventing breast cancer.
- In high-risk women, breasts are surgically removed to prevent the development of cancer (preventive mastectomy).
Treatment: As with all cancers, treatment would depend on the stage at which it is identified and include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. As noted earlier, if you are at risk, look out for warning signs as early diagnosis is the key to maximum recovery.