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Akeredolu: Seven Things To Know About Prostate Cancer

Posted by Samuel on Thu 28th Dec, 2023 -

Here are what you need to know about prostate cancer, the disease that took the life of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Rotimi Akeredolu

Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the Ondo state governor, sadly passed away  on Wednesday, December 27.

According to a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, the governor died in Germany on Wednesday after battling prostate cancer.

Here are 7 things to know about prostate cancer.

1. Prostate cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system below the bladder.

2. Early prostate cancer causes no symptoms. Most cases are detected after screening tests – typically blood tests for levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) – indicate unusual growth of prostate tissue. Diagnosis requires a biopsy of the prostate. If cancer is present, the pathologist assigns a Gleason score, with a higher score representing a more dangerous tumor. Medical imaging is performed to look for cancer that has spread outside the prostate. Based on the Gleason score, PSA levels, and imaging results, a cancer case is assigned a stage 1 to 4. Higher stage signifies a more advanced, more dangerous disease.

3. Most prostate tumors remain small and cause no health problems. These are managed with active surveillance, monitoring the tumor with regular tests to ensure it has not grown.  Tumors more likely to be dangerous can be destroyed with radiation therapy or surgically removed by radical prostatectomy. Those whose cancer spreads beyond the prostate are treated with hormone therapy that reduces levels of the androgens (male sex hormones) that prostate cells need to survive. Eventually cancer cells grow resistant to this treatment.

This most-advanced stage of the disease, called castration-resistant prostate cancer, is treated with continued hormone therapy alongside the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. Some tumors spread to other areas of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. There, tumors cause severe bone pain, leg weakness or paralysis, and eventually death.

4. Signs and symptoms Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. As a tumor grows beyond the prostate, it can damage nearby organs causing erectile dysfunction, blood in the urine or semen, or trouble urinating – often frequent urination and slow or weak urine stream. More than half of men over age 50 experience some form of urination problem, typically due to issues other than prostate cancer such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate).

5. Advanced prostate tumors often metastasize to nearby bones of the pelvis and back; there they can cause fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and back or bone pain that does not improve with rest. Metastases can damage the bones around them, and around a quarter of those with metastatic prostate cancer develop a bone fracture. Growing metastases can also compress the spinal cord causing weakness in the legs and feet, or limb paralysis.

6.  Prostate cancer screening: Most cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed through screening tests, when tumors are too small to cause any symptoms. This is done through blood tests to measure levels of the protein prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which are elevated in those with enlarged prostates, whether due to prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The average man’s blood has around 1 nanogram (ng) of PSA per milliliter (mL) of blood tested. Those with PSA levels below average are very unlikely to develop dangerous prostate cancer over the next 8 to 10 years.

Men with PSA levels above 4 ng/mL are at increased risk – around 1 in 4 will develop prostate cancer – and are often referred for a prostate biopsy. PSA levels over 10 ng/mL indicate higher risk still; over half of men in this group develop prostate cancer. Men with high PSA levels are often recommended to repeat the blood test four to six weeks later, as PSA levels can fluctuate unrelated to prostate cancer.

7. Diagnosis: Men suspected of having prostate cancer may undergo several tests to help assess the prostate. One common procedure is the digital rectal examination, in which a doctor inserts a lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the nearby prostate.

Tumors feel like stiff, irregularly shaped lumps against the rest of the prostate. Hardening of the prostate can also be due to benign prostatic hyperplasia; around 20–25% of those with abnormal findings on their rectal exams have prostate cancer.


Source: The Nation

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