Prostrate Cancer Progression – The Physiological Progress of Prostate Cancer

June 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is easily one of the most disturbing forms of cancer in the United States, especially true because of the fact that even though most men are aware of the disease, many are not aware of what they are meant to do, with respect to the information they have concerning it. This article is directed at providing some hopefully helpful information about how prostate cancer progresses in the body from inception till? well, till it is cured or till it is over, with the hope that you will be able to learn precisely what to do when you are able to identify it on your body or on the body of a loved one. This description of the physiological progress of prostate cancer will be done with respect to the graduated and established stages of the disease, viz.

Not only is the exact cause of prostate cancer not known, but the exact time that it begins is not particularly clear either. It is an established fact that only about 1 in 10,000 men under the age of 40 are ever diagnosed with the disease; that this number rises staggeringly to 65% of men above the age of 65, and tapers out to 80% of men over 70 years of age. Somewhere in between there, the American Cancer Society asserts that about 1 in 38 men within the age range from 40 to 59 years old get diagnosed.

Following these statistics, I suppose one could argue that the normal age at which most patients start to suffer from prostate cancer is in their late 50s. This must be why the American Cancer Society (ACS) urges that men over the age of fifty should get themselves tested for the malignancy of the cells of the prostate gland no fewer than once a year. It’s that much more important because of the absence of any known early symptoms of the disorder so that a patient could have a growing tumor in his prostate for several years and not even know it.

Prostate cancer so confined to the prostate gland can be detected during a routine medical check by a Direct Rectal Examination (DRE), which requires a doctor to slip a gloved finger up the rectum of the patient in order to feel against the growth. A growth so detected may however also be a benign one, which would warrant first a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, and usually a prostate biopsy to confirm. There are quite a number of diseases, especially prostate disorders that cause a raise in the PSA level in men over the normal 4ng/ml, which is why the biopsy is also needed to make absolutely sure.

When the cancerous cells have grown large enough, they often result in prostate enlargement and blockage of the urethra right before they start to invade the rest of the patient’s system. They break into the bloodstream and might end up in bones as far away from the origin of the tumor as even the skull, resulting in hot and cold spots in these regions and causing a lot of bone pain. The thigh bones, ribs, pelvis, and backbone are not spared from this onslaught; and such metastatic prostate cancer can only result in eventual compression of the spinal cord, which results in the worst symptoms of the late stages of the disorder – leg weakness, fecal and urinary incontinence, and possibly even paralysis.

It takes quite a while for this to happen, usually up to five or even ten years from the time of initial diagnosis, because prostate cancer is essentially a slow growing disorder. Nonetheless there are aggressive forms of the disease that could go through the entire process in just a couple of years, so the disease should never be taken for granted.

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