25 May Prostate Cancer Treatment: Does It Come with Side Effects?
Cancer is a complex group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. The development of cancer results from changes or mutations in the DNA of cells, which can occur randomly or be caused by exposure to certain environmental factors. These mutations disrupt the normal functioning of cells, causing them to grow and divide uncontrollably. Cancers affect the sexes differently, with most men experiencing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer types affecting men. It develops in the prostate gland, a small walnut-shaped gland below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate gland plays a crucial role in the male reproductive system, producing and secreting seminal fluid that helps nourish and transport sperm. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a tumor. Of course, treatment options are available, but few know the possible side effects they may have. For this reason, we will discuss the details in this article.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages, so screening and early detection are essential. However, as the disease progresses, several symptoms may begin to manifest themselves, such as:
As the prostate gland enlarges, it can put pressure on the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. This can lead to a range of urinary problems, such as:
- Increased frequency of urination, especially at night.
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination.
- Weak or interrupted urine flow.
- Pain or burning sensation during urination.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
Prostate cancer can also cause erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse. Other factors like aging, stress, and certain medications can also cause ED.
Pain and Discomfort
As the cancer spreads beyond the prostate gland, it can cause pain and discomfort in various parts of the body. The most common areas affected by prostate cancer are the bones, especially those in the spine, hips, and pelvis. The pain may be constant or intermittent and worsen with movement or activity.
Unexplained weight loss may also be a symptom of prostate cancer, especially if it’s accompanied by loss of appetite and fatigue. Weight loss can be caused by cancer and the body’s response to cancer and cancer treatments.
Who Is at Risk?
While prostate cancer can affect men of any age, it is most commonly diagnosed in men over 50. However, certain factors can increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. With this in mind, age is the primary risk factor for prostate cancer, with most cases occurring in men over 50. The risk of developing prostate cancer also increases with age, and men over 70 are at the highest risk.
Family history is another significant risk factor for prostate cancer. If a man’s father, brother, or son has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his risk of developing the disease is two to three times higher than men who do not have a family history of the disease. This risk increases if multiple family members have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or the family member was diagnosed at a young age.
Race is also a factor in prostate cancer risk. African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of other races. They are also more likely to develop more advanced and aggressive forms of the disease. The reasons for this increased risk are not entirely understood, but they may be related to differences in genetics, lifestyle factors, or access to healthcare.
Treatment Options and Side Effects
Prostate cancer has various options for treatment, but they also come with certain side effects:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. It can be delivered externally (external beam radiation therapy) or internally (brachytherapy). Side effects can include fatigue, skin irritation, urinary incontinence, and erectile dysfunction.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Side effects can include hair loss, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, decreased appetite, increased risk of infection, and bruising or bleeding easily.
Surgery involves removing the prostate gland and can be done through open surgery or minimally invasive techniques. Side effects can include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and bowel problems.
Prostate cancer is a debilitating condition that can affect any man. While different treatment options are available, not all are suited for a particular patient. For this reason, you must consult your doctor to make an informed decision and ensure you receive the best treatment for your case.
CenterPoint Radiation Oncology, led by Dr. Morrell, can help you with prostate cancer radiation therapy. Cancer is a debilitating condition, so we go above and beyond through comprehensive radiation treatments to ensure you get a fighting chance for recovery. Call us today at (424) 249-7500 to schedule an appointment!