Navigating the Nether Regions
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer can help you detect it early, giving you a better chance of survival. In this article, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, and provide an overview of the treatment options available, including a medication called Xofigo, used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, specifically when the cancer has spread to the bones.
Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
In its early stage, prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms, but as the cancer progresses you may experience symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore, including:
- Slow or weak flow of urine.
- Increase in urinary frequency.
- Pain or burning with urination.
- Blood in your urine.
- Pelvic area pain or discomfort, especially when sitting.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Sexual dysfunction, including the inability to keep an erection, painful ejaculation, decreased volume of ejaculation and/or blood in your semen.
- Numbness or pain in your lower back, legs, feet, hip or chest.
- Bone pain or fractures.
- Loss of appetite.
- Unintentional weight loss.
Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
Many treatment options exist for treating prostate cancer. When deciding on a treatment option, your doctor will consider various things, including:
- The size of your tumor and the extent of spread (stage of your cancer).
- The characteristics of your tumor (grade of your cancer).
- Your age and general health.
- Your personal preferences.
Treatment options include
Most prostate cancers grow slowly; therefore, your doctor may suggest waiting to see if your tumor grows or spreads before treating it. Some doctors recommend not treating prostate cancer unless it’s causing symptoms. If your doctor recommends watchful waiting, you’ll be monitored closely for symptoms and disease progression.
If you’re healthy and your cancer hasn’t spread to other areas of your body, your doctor may recommend surgery. They may opt to remove just your prostate gland or your prostate gland and the surrounding tissue.
If your cancer is low-grade or hasn’t spread to other areas of your body, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. Your doctor may also recommend this therapy after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells or if your prostate cancer has spread to your bones. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer. Radiation therapy can be external, where a machine directs the rays to your body at the area of cancer, or internal, by placing radioactive seeds in your body.
Proton Beam Radiation
If your cancer hasn’t spread to other areas of the body, your doctor may recommend this type of radiation therapy that uses very small particles to kill cancer cells.
If you have castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend radiopharmaceuticals. These are a group of medications that have radioactive isotopes, which help to control the disease. You take these medications orally or by injections, and in some cases, they can be placed within the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer needs male sex hormones, such as testosterone, to grow. Hormone therapy either lowers the levels of male sex hormones in the body or blocks the way the hormones work. Nubeqa is one of the hormone therapy medications that can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy to lower testosterone in your body.
If your prostate cancer has spread to other parts of your body and hormone therapy isn’t helping to control your disease, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy. These medications, taken by mouth or through IV, attack and kill cancer cells.
If your prostate cancer is advanced, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy. This treatment works in conjunction with your immune system to fight the cancer cells.
Diet Tips for Prostate Cancer
A healthy diet for prostate cancer should include:
- Fruits and veggies, especially colorful ones, such as tomatoes, kale, carrots and broccoli. These fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants that help to protect your cells from free radical damage.
- Whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are good sources of protein and fiber. Protein helps you maintain your muscle strength and mass. Fiber helps to lower your testosterone levels.
- Healthy fats, including fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil, help to reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are both common complications of prostate cancer treatments.
A healthy diet for prostate cancer should reduce or avoid:
- Dairy products – consuming too much dairy may increase your risk of prostate cancer progression. However, dairy products are a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone health. Limit your consumption of dairy products to moderate amounts of low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
- Red meat, processed meats, saturated fats and added sugars – these foods may increase your risk of prostate cancer progression, as well as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Xofigo for Advanced Prostate Cancer
Xofigo is a medication designed for treating advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. Think of it as a unique medicine that transports radiation directly to the cancer cells in the bones. This helps improve symptoms and slows down the cancer's growth.
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that affects about 200,000 people in the United States each year. It can cause various signs and symptoms, including urination and sexual issues. It can also spread to other areas of the body and become life-threatening. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and seek medical attention if you notice any changes in your prostate health. Early detection and appropriate treatment improve your chance of survival and help you maintain your quality of life.