Prostate cancer is the malignant growth of the prostate gland. When the prostate cancer progresses, it invades the neighboring cells, deforming the internal and external structure of the prostate; subsequently, it can slip out of it and invade neighboring organs, such as the seminal vesicles, the bladder and the rectum. In advanced stages of the disease, through the lymphatic and blood vessels, cancer cells spread to distant sites, such as the lymph nodes and bones, which is called metastasis. The growth and spread of prostate cancer depend on the presence of the male hormone (testosterone).

When prostate cancer is diagnosed, we can find it in one of three phases:

  • Located: Has not left the prostate.
  • Locally advanced: Engages the prostate and close tissues.
  • Advanced: It has already left the prostate and spread in other organs, such as lymph nodes or bones.

Prostate cancer in its early stages does not produce symptoms, these usually appear when it is advanced. The symptoms that we list below can be found in some patients, but they are not exclusive of prostate cancer:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Weak or interrupted urine stream, or need to strain to empty the bladder.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Urgency to urinate frequently at night.
  • Blood in the seminal fluid.
  • Onset of erectile dysfunction.
  • Pain or burning when urinating, which is much less frequent.
  • Discomfort when sitting down, caused by an increase in the size of the prostate.

If the cancer has spread outside the prostate gland, a man may experience these symptoms:

  • Pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders or other bones.
  • Swelling or edema of the legs or feet.
  • Weight loss without explanation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Change in bowel habits.

There are risk factors associated with prostate cancer, some are variable and others are not:

Variable factors:

  • Food: consume of many red meats, high-fat dairy products and low consumption of fruits and vegetables may increase the risk.
  • Sedentarism: the lack of regular physical activity and an inadequate weight are associated with increased risk of cancer.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Exposure to chemical contaminants.
  • The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after 50 years. More than 80% of cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older.
  • Race / ethnic origin: Black men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men, particularly among those who lead a lifestyle with less physical activity and a less healthy diet.
  • Family history: Hereditary prostate cancer is rare and represent for about 5% of cases. If a man has a relative in the first degree( father, brother, son) with prostate cancer, his risk of developing prostate cancer is 2 to 3 times higher. This risk increases with the number of relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer ( HBOC).
  • Other genetic changes: Other genes that may carry an increased risk of developing prostate cancer include HPC1, HPC2, HPCX and CAPB. However, it has been shown that none of them cause prostate cancer or are specific to this disease.

Not Variable:

  • Age.
  • Family background.
  • Race

In Colombia, it is recommended a Screening for prostate cancer for patients over 50 years old. This test should be performed annually:

  • Digital rectal examination.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).
  • Biopsy.

To evaluate the extent of prostate cancer there are several tests that can offer information of specific points that at a certain time could be compromised by the disease. Some examples:

  • Abdominopelvic TAC.
  • Bone scintigraphy.
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance

There are several alternatives to manage prostate cancer. Before taking an option the specialist will evaluate your age, other associated diseases and general physical condition, the state of your pathology according to your clinical status, establish a risk category according to the characteristics of the tumor and define the purpose of the treatment, that means, if this will be done with curative intention (to cure the disease) or palliative (to reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life). These are the treatment options:

  • Active surveillance.
  • Radical prostatectomy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Hormonotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy

Healthy eating habits are vital for the body to function well.

  • Consume fiber and antioxidants in the daily diet.
  • Balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, low fats and avoid processed sugar in order to prevent obesity.
  • Moderate alcohol consume.
  • Exercise, which involves simple activities such as walking and climbing stairs
  • No smoking.
  • The specialist also emphasize the importance of the annual check-up, unless the person experiences some strange symptoms.