Prostate cancer is the most common men’s cancer in the world. In India, this cancer is becoming progressively more common. IN many cities, this cancer is found to be 2nd common cancer amongst men. Generally noted as a cancer of elderly, this cancer is now often being diagnosed in men in their late 40s and 50s as well. Awareness is the key for early diagnosis and hence effective treatment and potential cure
However, with increasing age, prostate gland becomes enlarged, and, or, becomes tighter, hence decreasing the flow of urination. This leads to set of symptoms includes slow stream, frequency, urgency etc. Such an enlargement commonly is due to the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. But a section of men may have cancer as well.
According to Dr. N. Ragavan, Senior Consultant Uro-Oncologist and Robotic Surgeon from Chennai Specialty Clinic and Apollo Hospitals, said that, “Prostate cancer, in its early stages may not exhibit any symptoms. Being aware of this condition and testing periodically (say once a year) is the best way to pick up very early cancer. In general, prostate cancer patients exhibits symptoms similar to the ones found in patients with benign (non- cancerous) enlargement. In addition, if there is spread of the cancer to the bones, symptoms related to the spread will also be seen.”
The suspicion of prostate cancer arises if the blood test, PSA is found to be higher than normal for age. Once suspected, the extent of the disease is assessed with scans such as MRI and PSMA PET and the diagnosis is confirmed using a prostate biopsy.
Further Dr. Ragavan from Chennai Specialty Clinic and Apollo Hospitals, added, “Prostate cancer is well treatable cancer and in early stages, it is potentially curable. Broadly, there are two major treatments; includes radical prostatectomy (removing the whole cancerous prostate) and radiation therapy. The surgical removal can be done by open or robotic method. This surgery is very safe and effective and if robotic method is adopted, the discomfort is very low, and the recovery is very fast. Radiation therapy can be delivered by many techniques including IMRT, IGRT, Cyberknife and Proton Therapy.”
Depending upon the grade, stage and spread of the disease and the symptoms of the patient, medical team (after due consultation) will recommend either a single treatment or a combination of treatment for the patient to bring about effective control and possibly cure of the cancer.
Some of the patients with aggressive cancer or cancer which has spread, may require other medical therapy as well. As prostate cancer grows well in an environment of male hormones, blocking the hormones brings in good control (hormone therapy). Lately, we have variety of drugs such an Abiraterone and Enzalutamide which are given in addition to the hormone therapy. Some of the patients may require chemotherapy as well.
With advances in the knowledge, technology and medical therapy, Prostate cancer is now well treatable disease. However, we should aim to identify this cancer in an early stage (by being aware and undergoing periodic testing) so that we can potentially cure people of this cancer.