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Disease & Conditions >>> Prostate Cancer Articles & News
What Is Prostate Cancer
By: Joshua Levine-Health Correspondent
Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in men. Most men do not realize the severity of this hazardous disease and think they are too busy to get checked out.
In a way, prostate cancer is the male equivalent of breast cancer, which plagues millions of women, but, unlike women, men pay little attention to the detecting its early signs. A little precaution today can go a long way tomorrow, and may even save your life. If you have a minute or two, take the time to learn more about this potential adversary. It is crucial for men to pay attention to their health.
Meet the enemyProstate cancer begins with the growth of a malignant tumor within the prostate gland and spreads by extending into the seminal vesicles, bladder and peritoneal cavity. It eventually metastasizes to the lymph nodes, bones, lungs, liver, and kidneys. The cause is unknown, although studies illustrate a small relation between high dietary fat intake and increased testosterone levels.
Prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than 40 years of age. The frequency of occurrence is greatest in African-American men over 60 years old. Increased occurrence is also associated with farmers, tire workers, painters, and men exposed to the cadmium, a metallic element. The lowest incidence occurs in vegetarians.
The cancer is classified based on the tumor's aggressiveness and the degree of its difference from the surrounding tissue. Most prostate cancers are staged using the Whitmore-Jewett system (A B C D system). The system categorizes the tumors using the following scale:
A: Tumor that cannot be detected by touch but only through microscopic biopsy (tissue sampling).
B: Tumor that can be detected through touch and is still confined to the prostate.
C: Spreading of the tumor beyond the prostate.
D: The cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes.
Risk factorsThe risk factors are well documented but inadequately understood. Some studies show positive associations with:
Age: Prostate cancer is particularly common among elderly men. Its prevalence has been reported in over 40% of men aged 70 years or older.
Race/Ethnicity: Large variations in the number of cases and mortality rate of prostate cancer have been observed among countries and racial/ethnic groups. African-Americans have the highest mortality rate for prostate cancer in the world, followed by Caucasians in Scandinavian countries. Asian men have the lowest mortality rate.
Family History: Epidemiological studies report that men who have family histories of prostate cancer are two or three times more likely to develop the disease.
Diet: The main component associated with prostate cancer is fat. One can actually reduce his chances of developing the cancer by modifying their diet.
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