Ref: CHB/HB/028/15                  



The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen.

What is Prostate Cancer?


Prostate cancer, also known as carcinoma of the prostate, is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively fast. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes.  It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages it can cause difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or pain in the pelvis, back or when urinating. A disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia may produce similar symptoms. Other late symptoms may include feeling tired due to low levels of red blood cells.

Causes of prostate cancer

There is no single cause of prostate cancer, but some factors appear to increase the risk of developing it:-

  1. Age-being older than 65
  2. Family history of prostate cancer
  3. A diet high in fat
  4. Obesity
  5. Frequent urination
  6. Nocturia (increased urination at night) 
  7. Difficulty starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine 
  8. Hematuria (blood in the urine) 
  9. Dysuria (painful urination)

Obesity, physical inactivity and working with metal called cadmium are being studied as possible risk factors. Some men develop prostate cancer without any of these risk factors.

Symptoms of Prostate cancer

Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Sometimes, however, prostate cancer does cause symptoms, often similar to those of diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. These include:-

A study based on the 1998 Patient Care Evaluation in the US found that about a third of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer had one or more such symptoms, while two thirds had no symptoms.

How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

Two tests are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer:- 

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE):

A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional places a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the size, shape, and hardness of the prostate gland. 

  • Prostate specific antigen test (PSA): PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The PSA test (Blood Tests) measures the level of PSA in the blood, which may be higher in men who have prostate cancer. However, other conditions such as an enlarged prostate, prostate infections and certain medical procedures also may increase PSA levels. 

Imaging Studies:- Imaging studies allow tissues, organs and bones to be looked at in more detail. Using x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs or bone scans, your healthcare team can get a picture of the size of the tumour and see if it has spread.

Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS):- Usually the only imaging study needed to diagnose prostate cancer. A TRUS uses sound waves to form a picture of the prostate. The doctor passes a small probe into the rectum and looks for dark or dense areas on the image that may represent cancer.

Biopsy: - Is usually necessary to make a definite diagnosis of cancer. The cells are checked under a microscope. If the cells are cancerous, they may be studied further to see how fast they are growing.

Treatments for Prostate Cancer:-

Watchful Waiting: -

Is where the doctor will watch the cancer closely and he will examine your prostate and test your PSA levels regularly. A TRUS or Biopsy may be done from time to time. Active treatment may be considered only if sings of cancer appear or change. A small tumour may never cause any problems during a man’s lifetime.

If active treatment is recommended, one might receive one or more of the following treatments:-

  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Hormonal Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical Treatment Trials
  • Complementary Therapies:- Such as Meditation or Therapeutic touch.

Prevention & Early Detection:-

The good news is that the survival rate for prostate cancer can be over 90% when detected early.

CHB has come across a number of cases of Prostate Cancer in our community; sadly some were in the advance stages. As we noted, some members were not fully conversant with the disease and therefore early detection and treatment was not done in time. 

Screening for Prostate Enlargement and Prostate Cancer:

We cannot emphasize enough to the members of our community, especially those who have crossed the age of 50 or experiencing any of the above symptoms  to undergo the above screening, preferably should see a Physician/Consultant Urologist in any Health Centre or Hospital in the city/towns, and ensure this should be an annual routine checkup.

Canadian Cancer

  “Community’s health – CHB’s priority”


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