What are the signs you are dying of prostate cancer?
Among all the types of cancer that affects men, the most common is prostate cancer. This type of cancer spreads very fast and is curable if detected and cured in its early stage. Prostate cancer is so common that it is predicted that there will be around 248,530 new people who will be diagnosed of prostate cancer and approximately 34,130 will died from this type of cancer (The American Cancer Society).
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that occurs only in men because it attacks the prostate. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that is responsible for producing the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. The function also include secreting prostate-specific antigen (PSA), protein that helps semen retain its liquid state, and helping aid urine control.
WHAT CAUSES PROSTATE CANCER?
Every cell in the body has DNA in it, it is the DNA that tells the cells what to do, that is, it contains instructions. Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate develop some changes in their DNA. It is these changes that makes the cells to grow and divide more quickly than they should normally do, the abnormal cells created continue to love and grow while the others die.
These abnormal cells cluster and form a tumour that can grow and invade other nearby tissues. With time, these abnormal cells if not detected can break away from the cluster and spread to other parts of the body. These prostate cancer cells can spread through the blood stream, they can also spread through the lymph vessels, they do this by spreading to the lymph nodes which are near the prostate gland. Both the lymph vessels and the lymph vessels make up the lymphatic system in the body.
The lymph nodes and bones are common ways prostate cancer spread to the body. Prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body like the bladder, urethra (the tube through which you urinate), the rectum, ureters (the tube from which urine is carried from the kidneys to the bladder). Sometimes, it can spread to other parts like the liver and lungs.
RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH PROSTATE CANCER
Obesity: The chances of obesed or overweight people having prostate cancer is higher than those with normal, healthy weight. Not only are they susceptible, they also experience aggressive prostate cancer that can recur after the first treatment.
Age: The more you get older, the more your chances of having this type of cancer increases, the chances of having it starts from 50 years.
Family history: If you have a family member that has been diagnosed of prostate cancer, it is likely you may have it later.
SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE CANCER
There are common signs of prostate cancer especially in its early stage.
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain in the back, hips and pelvis
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Difficulty and pains while urinating
- Frequent urge to urinate
The more cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the lowered the chances of survival becomes and this can cause death. Advanced cancer leads to death most times, in fact, only three out of 10 men will survive for five years after the diagnosis.
The more the cancer spreads, the more the stage increases. The stages are:
- Stage 1 – The cancer is only in the prostate.
- Stage 2 – The cancer is still in the prostate but the prostate-specific antigen is becoming higher.
- Stage 3 – The cancer starts to spread to nearby tissues
- Stage 4 – The cancer have spread to other parts of the body.
Advanced stage prostate cancer occurs when the cancerous cells invades other organs in the body, it is very dangerous and can kill when they develop in organs like the:
- Liver and make it unable to filter toxins from the body.
- Lung and cause lung infections which are difficult to treat.
- Bones especially in the lower part of the body and cause hypercalcemia, a condition where bone calcium are released into the blood affecting how the kidney and heart function.
It can also develop in the :
• Lymph nodes
SIGNS YOU ARE DYING OF PROSTATE CANCER
There are some signs that will show your prostate cancer is advanced and you may be dying.
- Erectile dysfunction or other sexual problems
- Anemia (Decrease in red blood cell level)
- Weight loss
- Severe pain
- Bowel problem
- Extreme tiredness
- Lymphoedema (Build up of fluids in the body)
- Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC)
- High calcium levels that can cause vomiting, tiredness and constipation.
- Paraneoplastic syndrome that can cause seizures, memory loss, dizziness, loss of muscle tone, difficulty in walking.
- Repression of the immune system making the patient susceptible to fungal infections.
In some people, these signs are experienced in their last month or weeks.
ARE THERE TREATMENT METHODS FOR THE ADVANCED STAGE?
Yes, there are treatment options that can be used for advanced stage prostate cancer. Some of these methods are :
Immunotherapy: This is the use of the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer, this immune system is boosted using substances the body produces or creating them in a laboratory by scientists.
Chemotherapy: The cancer cells are killed using medications. Although the medicine can be effective in killing the cancer cells, it may have adverse effects in the body.
Hormonal therapy: Androgen hormones like the testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are blocked or the frequency at which they appear is reduced, this is done to stop the cancer cells from growing. One of the ways of doing this is by removing the testicles through surgery or the use of medicines.
Targeted therapy: This is effective for treating difficult cases of advanced prostate cancer. Drugs and other substances are used to identify and specifically attack cancer cells.
TREATMENT METHODS FOR OTHER STAGES OF PROSTATE CANCER
Surgery: surgical procedure may be done to remove the tumour and the prostate in some cases. The seminal vesicles, nearby lymph nodes and surrounding tissues can be removed too. The surgery can be done using open, laparoscopic, or robot-assisted laparoscopic procedures.
External radiation therapy: A machine outside the body is used to send radiation to the cancer cells. A computer is used to direct the radiation only toward the prostate tumor to avoid other complications.
Internal radiation therapy: Radioactive substances are implanted near the prostate and ultrasound is used to see the image of the substances and also to direct it.
Prostate cancer is dangerous but the chances of survival is more if it is detected early enough and treatments are given. The best way to detect it is by regular screening and tests especially if you are around the age of 40 years. If you have gotten to the advanced stage, you can ask your doctor how long you will still live so that you can spend your last days with your family and friends if your chances are very low.