What is prostate cancer?

SHARE VIA E-MAIL
DOWNLOAD
PRINT
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in the male population over 50 years of age and is an androgen-dependent cancer.

Prostate cancer affects men over 50 and its frequency increases with age. Currently it is the most frequent type of male cancer, both for the continued aging of the population, for the greater spread of the diagnosis, due to the higher number of tests, urological visits and biopsies that are performed.

How is a tumor formed?

In practice, a tumor is formed because the normal and orderly mechanism of cell division, which occurs in all body tissues, may get out of control: the cells begin to multiply and differentiate in an uncontrolled manner and form a mass (a lump) which will continue to grow. Tumors can develop into benign or malignant forms: a biopsy is needed to accurately establish the type of cancer. Benign tumors usually grow slowly and do not spread into the surrounding tissues; they can create problems when increasing in volume and press against nearby organs. Malignant tumors, on the contrary, can invade adjacent tissues; furthermore, the cells can break away from the original tumor, and then spread through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system, to distant organs and tissues: in this case we speak of metastases. 

However, aside from this mechanism, which is common to all cancers, it is important to remember that each tumor has its own story: there are more than 200 types of cancer and different treatment options.

Prostate cancer

There are various types of prostate cancer: some grow very slowly, to the point that, in some cases, they do not give rise to any problems during a person's life: these forms are defined by oncologists as "indolent". However, in other cases, the cells multiply rapidly and are able to invade neighboring tissues and strike from a distance, with metastasis.

The causes

The causes that lead to the formation of prostate cancer have not yet been identified, although you are probably aware of some risk factors. The hormone androgen plays an important role in the development and growth of prostate cancer. Specialist also refer to it as (?) androgen-dependent cancer. We now know with certainty that the growth and survival of cancer cells in the prostate is influenced by testosterone, which circulates in the blood. By reducing the levels of testosterone, it is possible to slow down, and sometimes even inhibit, tumor growth; you can reduce the size of the tumor and improve the symptoms.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia

The benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a disease characterized by the increase in size of the prostate gland in response to a benign growth of tissue. It is one of the most common diseases that affects adult men (over 50% of men over the age of 40) and although it is non-malignant, it can cause problems and inconvenience. BPH can not degenerate into prostate cancer: they are two separate diseases that affect different parts of the prostate, but often co-exist.

show more