‘Early prostate cancer is completely curable and patient can lead absolutely a normal lifestyle, post-treatment.’ – Dr. Pankaj Maheshwari
“Prostate cancer often has no exact symptoms and signs to detect the disease in advance, but medical experts suggest regular checkups and timely treatment for older men aged above 55 years. The issue needs to be examined, diagnosed, and treated in time, as delay in treatment could be life-threatening. Dr. Pankaj Maheshwari, Urology Specialist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund shares some insightful thoughts on various aspects related to this deadly disease with MedicoExperts.
Cancer of the prostate gland refers to the irregular growth of prostate gland cells. Prostate refers to a tiny walnut-sized gland found in men, which surrounds the urethra- the passage for emptying the urine – situated right under the bladder facing the rectum. Any abnormal growth in the prostate gland causes obstruction in urine flow. The malignant growth or prostate cancer can be life-threatening, if not diagnosed and treated in time. Sometimes cancer of prostate spreads to other tissues and organs causing severe damage.
Though there is no specific reason for why a man develops prostate cancer, but a sedentary lifestyle, co-morbidities related to BP and Blood Sugar, smoking, and family history are considered some prominent causes behind prostate cancer. “There are no specific symptoms related to prostate cancer, in fact many symptoms are similar to the prostate enlargement such as difficulty in urination, frequent urination, uncontrolled bladder etc. Early prostate cancer can only diagnosed by a regular checkup. Every man between the age of 55 to 70 years should get their PSA examination once in two year. This is the only way you’ll be able to diagnose your prostate cancer early,” avers Dr. Maheswari.
Early sign and symptoms of prostate cancer
Due to close proximity of the prostate gland with urethra and bladder, the cancer of prostate can induce several urinary symptoms as early warning signs. Based on the site and size of the tumor, it may restrict the urine flow by pressing the urethra. Some of the early warning signs of prostate cancer include blood in urine and semen, painful ejaculation and urination, erectile dysfunction, and discomfort while sitting. Advanced stage or metastatic prostate cancer can spread and develop tumors in adjacent bones or organs. If disease spreads to the spine, this can damage spinal nerves. Some symptoms of advanced prostate cancer are swelling in pelvic region, legs or feet; numbness in hips, legs or feet; change in bowel habits; unexplained weight loss; constant pain in bones that may lead to fractures too.
Diagnosis of Prostate cancer
“Other than the normal clinical tests, one most important test is Digital Rectal Examination in which a rubber glove finger is used to feel the prostate through rectal passage. A normal prostate should feel like a sponge with smooth texture but if the gland is hard and rough on the surface then it could be due to prostate cancer. Routine test include urine test, creatinine test etc. Another important test is called PSA test to diagnose prostate cancer in early stage. In fact all men aged between 55 to 70 years should undergo PSA test once in two years,” suggests Dr. Pankaj.
Risk Factors of prostate cancer
The most important risk factor for prostate cancer is family history, both father and mother side. Then people with lifestyle diseases like diabetes and BP are also prone to have prostate cancer. Smoking is another major cause of prostate cancer. “We are aware that smoking cause oral cancer or lung cancer or heart attacks but we are not aware about that most of the urinary cancers are related to smoking, as the nicotine that goes in body also comes out through urinary passage,” warns Dr. Maheswari.
Prevent and Treatment
Following a healthy diet along with weight management regime are key measures to avoid development of co-morbidities and subsequent progression to prostate cancer. Saying no to tobacco is must, in general, and if someone has family history of prostate cancer. Depending on the stage of cancer, doctors suggest the treatment which might be as simple as some life style changes in case of benign or early stage cancer. But if cancer has progressed into advanced stage surgical options are best to avert any severity.
Apart from traditional surgical intervention, robotic surgery has come up as a preferred choice both for doctors and the patient. As prostate is located at congested site so access to that part through open surgery is very difficult and chances of bleeding are more, while robotic arms offer better visuals and access to the area of intervention. “The camera linked to robotic arm can give 16 times magnification than the naked eye. Another advantage is that robotic arm wrist can move much better than a human wrist. The surgery becomes much easier with more than 95% success rate. Post-operative pain is negligible in robotic surgery and patients can leave the hospital with 2 to 3 days,” explains Dr. Pankaj.
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Dr. Pankaj Maheshwari
Urology / Andrology | Urology, Andrology & Transplant Surgery
Experience: 23+ years.
He is one of the pioneers to initiate therapeutic flexible ureteroscopy in India.