Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men (after skin cancer), but it can be treated successfully and doesn’t have to mean the end. It can occur in younger as well as older men, which means that regular checkups can help prevent it from developing to higher stages that may not be as easy to treat.
Nevertheless, there are many questions that people have concerning this cancer that we don’t talk about enough.
1. How common is prostate cancer amongst older men?
In men between the age of 40 and 59, the risk of developing prostate cancer is at 2.2.% as opposed to men below 40 who have a risk of 0.005% of developing this type of cancer. The risk rises exponentially for men over the age of 60 – 16.7%.
Moreover, prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men worldwide, which further proves that it should be taken seriously since a large number of men are at risk.
2. What can you do to prevent prostate cancer?
Even though methods of preventing various types of cancers are still disputed by many scientists and doctors, there are still ways that we can increase our immunity and help our organism fight cancerous mutation if they occur.
To prevent prostate cancers, it is recommended to choose a low-fat diet, since studies have shown that men who consumed a diet high in fats had an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
On top of that, including lots of vegetables and fruit in your diet helps increase your immunity as their loaded with essential vitamins and macronutrients.
Finally, maintaining a healthy weight and working out regularly can help in preventing prostate cancer as well. In studies, men who had high fitness levels had lower chances of developing prostate cancer.
3. How does diet influence prostate cancer?
Aside from eating a healthy and balanced diet filled with vitamins, research has proven that men who eat too much and exceed their daily recommended calorie intake have an increased risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
Additionally, a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables but low in meat may help slow the growth of prostate cancer and if developed, it may be less aggressive.
4. Why is prostate cancer more prevalent in older men?
Men of all ages can develop prostate cancer, but it is still more prevalent in older men. This statistic is often attributed to the fact that as we grow older, our immunity decreases. More mutations start occurring within our DNA cells, which are the leading cause of most cancers.
Moreover, life expectancy increases, and more people get screened for cancers and other diseases, which often would go unnoticed if not checked.
5. Should you care about prostate cancer if you are young?
Although prostate cancer is known as a disease of older men, more and more younger men fall victim to this cancer. In fact, if a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer under the age of 55, he’s more likely to die from it as younger men are more likely to develop more aggressive forms of this cancer.
6. How do men typically learn about prostate cancer?
Diagnosing prostate cancer is a rather complex process, but there are many warning signs that men of all ages should be aware of. These include, among others, frequent urination, blood in urine, interrupted urination, pain or burning during urination, or enlarged prostate.
These symptoms may vary and sometimes there might be none so it’s important to get regular checkups regardless of your age.
7. How does genetics influence prostate cancer?
Cancers develop as a result of various mutations, and prostate cancer is no different. As a result, prostate cancer can be hereditary since it’s been proven that mutations in genes BRCA1, BRCA2, and HOXB13 account for some cases of this type of cancer.
Hence, if a man has inherited a mutation in these specific genes, he has a higher risk of developing prostate cancer at some point in his life, but it is not certain that he will – it simply means that the likelihood is higher, so more preventative measures should be taken.
8. How lethal is prostate cancer?
According to studies conducted by cancer researchers, about 1 in 41 men will die of prostate cancer. This number might seem high, but considering that 1 in 6 men get diagnosed with this type of cancer, it is not as untreatable as it may seem. In fact, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t die from it and can live long lives in remission.
The 5-year survival rate for most men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer is nearly 100%, which are optimistic odds. Nevertheless, it is still a form of cancer and is as dangerous as any other, hence it should be treated accordingly.
9. What is the main cause of prostate cancer?
Unfortunately, it is still unclear what exactly causes prostate cancer. Some cases are attributed to genetics, but there are cases where no family member has ever had any form of cancer.
Prostate cancer begins when certain cells in the prostate become abnormal, and they start dividing rapidly. After a while, these cells continue living whereas other, healthy cells start dying.
10. How painful is prostate cancer?
Most men suffering from low-stage prostate cancer don’t experience pain, but when cancer progresses, it can cause severe discomfort. The pain can be described as dull and deep with accompanying stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs.
In most cases, the pain can be alleviated by prescription medications which help reduce it or fully eliminate it. Furthermore, the most common cause of pain for men suffering from prostate cancer occurs when cancer has spread to other parts of the body, especially to the bones.
11. How can you cure prostate cancer?
Treating prostate cancer depends on its stage and the age of the man affected. In the early stages and when the patient doesn’t show any symptoms, doctors may settle on observation and careful monitoring of the growth. In more, aggressive forms, surgery might be the best option in order to remove any tumors, especially if it’s causing pain and discomfort and may be lethal.
Generally, many doctors suggest chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation, or cryotherapy depending on the size of the growth and its progression.
12. How does prostate cancer affect you sexually?
Prostate cancer itself rarely affects a man sexually – however, the treatments used to cure it do. Chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy have sexual side effects, which include difficulty getting an erection, having an orgasm as well as fathering children. In most cases, these issues are temporary, but nerve damage may occur which is not reversible, unfortunately.
Moreover, some men can develop erectile dysfunction, which is also often temporary, and if not, can be treated as long as there is no nerve damage.
13. Can prostate cancer affect women?
Cancer of the female prostate is very rare, but it can occur. One older study has shown that the cancer of the Skene’s glands accounts for 0.003% of cancer in the female genital-urinary tract.
There are other more common forms of cancer that women can suffer from, such as cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, or vulvar cancer, and women should be screened for these regularly.
14. How is prostate cancer and breast cancer similar?
Both prostate cancer and breast cancer can be hereditary, which makes them similar. What’s more, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are both causes for prostate as well as breast cancers. Similarly, both of these types of cancer, if found in the early stages, can be treated successfully.
In both cases, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are all options for treatment that have been shown to be effective.
15. How did Warren Buffet treat his prostate cancer?
Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in America, has been diagnosed with stage I prostate cancer in 2012. After that, he underwent two months of daily radiation treatment, during which he claimed he felt great and energized, having barely any side effects. Diagnosed at the age of 72, he was at the age that prostate cancer can be the most aggressive and lethal, but he made a full recovery and is currently in remission.