Prostate cancer usually develops in a way that is not typical for most kinds of that illness. Namely, instead of spreading, malignant neoplasms on the prostate often goes into remission, and rarely cause symptoms or problems. In rare cases, where cancer is accompanied by noticeable symptoms, all those symptoms are similar to symptoms of benign prostate enlargement. In most cases, the malignant tumor on this gland is discovered only during the operation (for some other disorder). However, if a cancer is not discovered, there is a risk of spreading (metastasis) of the disease, usually in the bones. This does not happen in most cases; however, if the cancer has spread, the patient will feel the symptoms of bone cancer. These secondary symptoms sometimes indicate the presence of the primary malignant process in the prostate.
Prostate cancer is rare in young men, but becomes more common in older age groups. This relatively less dangerous form of cancer affects about 15% of men in their fourties. At the age of 80, the disease affects almost every man. However, it rarely causes death; less than 1 out of 1000 men dies from prostate cancer. If the disease occurs after you have passed fifty, you are likely to die from some other disease (or cause) that has nothing to do with prostate cancer. Every sixth patient, hospitalized for cancer, has a prostate cancer.
What to do?
If you have characteristic symptoms of enlarged prostate, your doctor will refer you to an urologist who will, during the first tests, assume that the affected tissues are benign. However, if a rectal examination shows that the tissue may be malignant, the urologist will recommend prostate biopsy. If a biopsy finds cancer cells, you will be examined with radioisotopes to determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The malignant process that has spread to the bone (or any other parts of the body) is treated by appropriate therapy. In addition, any (possible) remaining malignant tissues in the prostate (after the surgery) can be treated with radiotherapy to prevent further metastases.
Most doctors are not prone to special prostate cancer treatment if the process only affects the gland and does not cause any problems. The urologist will probably advise you to do nothing – except regular controls to make sure that the malignant process has not started to spread. There are two valid reasons why the doctors think that. First, as we have already said, this type of cancer is rarely spreading or causing serious problems. Second, removal of the entire prostate is a serious operation, with inevitable dangers, which does not guarantee treating from the underlying disease.