So many things can stop a man dead in his tracks but few of them are as small as a walnut. But here is the difference: although small in size the prostate gland can hold a wallop of an impact. Such a wallop that it can affect the whole body of a large sized man; especially if that little gland is riddled with cancer and sending out abnormal cells by the thousands through the body’s bloodstreams and lymph vessels. The body has been attacked; and yes the enemy has been identified “it is prostate cancer.
Men can have prostate cancer for years and be totally unaware of it. Perhaps they confuse the occasional prostate cancer symptom with the symptoms of another disorder symptoms such as: Frequent urination blood in the urine painful urination or pain in the back or hips. These symptoms can be confused with the symptoms of other disorders such as an enlarged prostate (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) which usually strikes older men. So it is not unreasonable for an older man to think these symptoms are normal for his age.
However if it is a case of metastasis prostate cancer the cancer cells will begin a full scale invasion multiplying and amassing in tumor fortifications throughout the entire body. First hit will be nearby tissues and lymph nodes. As it invades and conquers the lymph system and bloodstream the cancer travels through the lymph vessels veins and capillaries infesting the body. Fortunately in the case of this particular man the prostate cancer has not begun its deadly invasion. Instead the enemy was “cut off at the pass” “it did not grow beyond the prostate.
But this is not the end of the war between prostate cancer and a man. He finally sees his doctor and tells him about his symptoms. Since the doctor had already warned him of a possible prostate cancer risk (the man is over 60 now and as a man grows older his risks for prostate cancer increase) the doctor shakes his head and examines him. Using the Digital rectal exam (DRE) the doc feels some irregularities and decides to order a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test which measures the level of the PSA (a substance made by the prostate) in the blood.
The levels of the PSA are a little high in this prostate cancer test which may indicate cancer or BPH; however since there were irregularities in the DRE the doctor decides the man needs a biopsy of the prostate tissue. He performs a transperineal biopsy and removes tissue from the prostate. The tissue is later viewed by a pathologist under a microscope. The results come back. According to the low Gleason score which is a grading system from 2 to 10 for cancerous tissue and its appearance beneath a microscope the tumor is not likely to spread for now. After the prostate cancer diagnosis the patient and the doctor discuss his treatment options. They both decide on watchful waiting (also called active surveillance or expectant management) and agree that he makes regular doctor visits unless his symptoms increase or change which then he must come in sooner for tests.
Tip Of The Week: In any warfare vigilance against the enemy becomes the first strategic tactic. It is the same in the war against prostate cancer. Although prostate cancer can be a “sleeper” agent for many years and appear as part of the normal community of body cells it can change. Therefore men must be willing to take up arms against this enemy of their health and lives by maintaining regular doctor visits being aware of symptom changes and undergoing periodic testing for prostate cancer.