Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among Indian men. The risk of prostate cancer is found to increase with age; men over 50 are found to have a higher risk of developing a prostate tumor. With regular screening, it is possible to detect prostate carcinoma in its early stages, when it is best treated.
Prostate cancer, or prostate carcinoma, refers to the tumor formation that occurs in the prostate gland due to the uncontrolled division of prostate cells. The prostate gland is an important part of the male reproductive system. It is located right below the bladder, and its primary function is to produce seminal fluid, which is responsible for nourishing and transporting sperm.
For better outcomes, it is important for prostate cancer to be detected in its early stages, when the disease is confined to the organ and can be treated effectively.
Globally, it is one of the most common cancers among men. The risk of prostate carcinoma increases with age, especially after the age of 50. Prostate cancer is also one of the most common cancers among Indian men. In recent times, the incidence of prostate carcinoma has been on the rise due to changing lifestyle factors.
Early detection and on-time treatment play an imperative role in effectively managing this cancer.
In most cases, the diagnosis is made in the localized state of prostate cancer, meaning the tumor is confined to the organ, and it can be successfully treated with the standard treatment available. However, in some cases, especially if the symptoms in the early stages are unchecked, the disease may spread to other parts of the body. The following are the common sites to which prostate carcinoma can spread:
In some cases, prostate cancer can spread to the lungs and cause respiratory symptoms, chest infections, and pleural effusions. In such cases, patients will need a multimodal approach for effective disease management.
Prostate cancer may also metastasize to the liver in some patients and cause jaundice and other liver-related problems. Patients may experience a loss of appetite and extreme weight loss.
In rare cases, prostate cancer may spread to the brain and lead to various symptoms like seizures, mood changes, headaches, and weakness.
Bones and lymph nodes are the primary sites for prostate cancer metastasis. In such cases, patients experience bone pain and have an increased risk of bone fractures.
There are different types of prostate cancer, depending on the cells from which it originates. Of all types, adenocarcinoma is the most common type of prostate cancer.
The following are the various types of prostate cancer:
The most common type of prostate cancer, adenocarcinoma, or prostatic adenocarcioma, arises from the glandular cells of the prostate gland. Prostatic adenocarcinoma grows slowly and is often diagnosed in a localized state. It is also one of the most treatable types of prostate cancer.
Acinar adenocarcinoma, also known as prostate acinar adenocarcinoma, arises from the acinar cells, which are responsible for the production of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and other components of the prostate fluid. The aggressiveness of prostate acinar adenocarcinoma varies from one patient to another.
Ductal adenocarcinoma begins in the duct cells of the prostate gland. It is a more aggressive subtype of prostate cancer; however, it is also rare. Also, this type of prostate cancer is diagnosed in its advanced stages.
Transitional cell carcinoma is another rare type of prostate cancer that starts in the cells of the urethral lining and may sometimes spread to the prostate gland. This prostate cancer type is more aggressive and may not always respond to standard treatments.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the prostate is a rare occurrence, and it arises from the flat cells present in the prostate gland. It is often aggressive, diagnosed in its advanced stages, and may show a poor response to standard treatments.
Small cell carcinoma of the prostate is a rare and highly aggressive variant of prostate cancer. It spreads to other parts of the body rather quickly and has a poor prognosis.
Prostate gland cancer is categorized into different stages depending on the disease’s extent and spread. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, various tests are recommended by doctors to accurately stage the disease, as disease staging is one of the imperative factors for treatment planning. The following are the different prostate cancer stages:
In stage 1, prostate cancer is localized, i.e., confined to the prostate. It may not cause any symptoms. Treatment options for a stage 1 prostate tumor include surgery, radiation, or active surveillance.
A stage 2 prostate tumor is also localized; however, the tumor size may be larger. Surgery, radiation therapy, and surveillance are the commonly recommended treatment options. Sometimes, hormone therapy may also be recommended.
In stage 3, prostate cancer may or may not have spread outside the prostate gland. At this stage, the disease may have locally advanced. Commonly recommended treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.
In stage 4, prostate cancer has metastasized or advanced and has spread to distant organs or lymph nodes. Often, stage 4 prostate cancers are treated through systemic therapies.
Prostate cancer, which is sometimes referred to as “male prostate cancer” by the general population, is a significant health concern among Indian men. It is necessary to understand what prostate cancer is, its different types, and its stages, as these support early detection and effective treatment. Prostate gland cancer is a highly treatable cancer with excellent 5-year survival rates, provided the disease is diagnosed in its early stages. Therefore, it is important for men to not ignore any prostate-related symptoms and immediately see a doctor when something is not normal.