Prostate Cancer Causes
by: Seth Miller
Prostrate cancer is an old manÃ¯Â¿Â½s disease, affecting one in six American males, with one in 32 dying of it. In 2006 over 250,000 Americans may develop this form of cancer and about 32,000 deaths are likely. It is the second most fatal cancer, after lung cancer.
The prostrate is a gland secreting seminal fluid and ejecting it, along with sperm, into the urethra during ejaculation. It is about three cm long, near the neck of the bladder, in front of the rectum. The urethra passes through it.
There are no specific causes of prostrate cancer that can be pinned down, and no preventive measures to be taken. There are three risk factors, and a patient has no control over any of them. The incidence of cancer increases with the increase in age. The peak figure for white Americans, of 1,200 per 100,000 is reached by 68 years of age. It only flattens down slightly after that. Race seems to be an important factor in the incidence of prostrate cancer. While the incidence was 1,200 for whites at the age of 68, it is about 1,800 per 100,000 for black Americans. For the Hispanics, Asians and American native Indians the peak incidence is at the age 75, and the figures are 1,100, 900 and 500 per 100,000, respectively. While in North America and Europe it is very common, in Asia, central and South America it is less common.
Heredity is another risk factor. Men who have a father, uncle or grandfather with prostrate cancer have a much higher chance of getting it. The hereditary factor is slightly controversial, as these family members also share the same race, diet and other cultural habits. A high-fat diet is also blamed for this cancer, and obesity and improper nutrition are other factors. Vitamin D gives protection against cancer, and so a shortage of it may be a factor in causing it.
Testosterone, the male hormone, is suspected to fuel the growth of prostrate cancer. Men whose testes are removed for some reason do not seem to develop prostrate cancer. So testosterone removal therapy is an important part of treating prostrate cancer patients. The treatment options are radical prostrorectomy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. For the very old people with slowly progressing cancer, just symptomatic treatment may be the best option.
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