Disease development

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THE EVOLUTION

The tumor, in a first phase, is a nodule that is formed within the prostate that, in the 'indolent' form remains so for many years.The most aggressive forms, in contrast, can evolve rapidly: the cells become more aggressive and cancer tends to grow until it spreads to distant organs (metastasis).

RISK FACTORS

Population aging is one of the main factors related to the increase in cases of prostate cancer.In addition to age, there are other risk factors, although still little is known about the actual causes that trigger the uncontrolled growth of prostate cells. While the causes of the onset of prostate cancer are not known yet, risk factors can be identified as well as some conditions that may increase the chances of getting sick.

WHAT RISK FACTORS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED?

The risk factors for prostate cancer which are recognized and classified as certain are:  

  • Age: the chances of getting sick increase significantly after age 50, and about two out of three cancers are diagnosed in men over 65 years.
  • Family: your risk of getting sick doubles if you have a close relative who suffered from the disease as compared to those who have no family history of the disease.

Among the risk factors identified is race: there seems to be a higher incidence of the disease in African-American males than in Caucasian males. It may be evidence that - although it is not yet known the mechanism of action - the prostate inflammatory diseases, such as chronic prostatitis or recurrent, cause cell damage and increase the likelihood of developing cancer. Finally, some lifestyle factors have also been noted, which are certainly no less important than the previous factors: smoking, a diet rich in animal fats and low in fruits and vegetables, obesity and lack of exercise can promote the development and growth of prostate cancer.

SYMPTOMS

A lot of patients seeking specialist's help present themselves with symptoms that are often attributed to a benign disease and related to the patient's age. In most cases prostate cancer does not cause problems or disorders in its early stages. The symptoms of prostate cancer, in fact, tend to occur when the disease is at an advanced stage and generally when the tumor size is such as to exert pressure on 'urethra'. The majority of prostate cancers are still diagnosed at the stage when there are no specific disorders. As anticipated, patients may also exhibit observable symptoms in cases of inflammation of the prostate gland - prostatitis - or in any other benign conditions affecting the prostate.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE CANCER?

  • Increase in the frequency of urination. 
  • difficulty starting urination
  • feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • occasional heartburn
  • erection difficulties
  • occasional presence of blood in semen

In the presence of these symptoms, it is always better to consult your doctor or the specialist; however the patient should not be alarmed because in most cases these are benign problems.

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