Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer affecting the prostate. It is currently the third most common type of cancer among Filipino men, usually affecting older men (age ≥ 65 years old).
Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Like other types of cancer, prostate cancer starts from one abnormal cell, and is thought to be caused by something that damages or changes certain genes in the cell. However, its exact cause remains unclear, but it likely involves various factors which increase its risk, including: • Increasing age • Family history of prostate cancer • Obesity • Cigarette smoking • Dietary factors (including high calcium intake, heavy alcoholic drinking, processed food intake) • History or sexually transmitted infections such as HPV and gonorrhea

Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. Some symptoms of prostate cancer are: • Difficulty starting urination • Weak or interrupted flow of urine • Frequent urination, especially at night • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely • Pain or burning during urination • Blood in the urine or semen • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away • Painful ejaculation If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, other symptoms can develop. The most common site for the cancer to spread is to one or more bones, especially the pelvis, lower spine and hips, which can become painful and tender.

Screening for prostate cancer usually includes: • Digital rectal exam (DRE) - During a DRE, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate, which is just next to the rectum. If your doctor finds any abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the gland, further tests may be needed. • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) - The higher the level in the blood, the more likely there is cancer of the prostate Apart from these two, a biopsy of the prostate may also be done but is not always necessary to establish the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Different types of treatment are available for prostate cancer, depending on the size and severity of the cancer. Some common treatments are: • Active surveillance - involves monitoring the prostate cancer by performing prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE) tests and prostate biopsies regularly • Surgery • Radiation therapy • Chemotherapy • Hormone therapy and immunotherapy

Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent prostate cancer. Risk factors include cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol intake, and obesity; thus, individuals may lower their risk by stopping/avoiding cigarette smoking, limiting alcoholic intake, and exercising regularly. Other risk factors which may increase the risk of prostate cancer include vitamin E intake, folic acid supplementation, a diet high in dairy products and calcium. However, an individual must ask a doctor first to assess whether avoiding these nutrients are necessary. Protective factors, on the other hand, include folate (found in green vegetables, beans, and orange juice) and the use of medications which lower the level of male sex hormones in the body; however, self-medicating with these drugs is discouraged, and one must visit a doctor to determine whether the use of such drugs is warranted.
Last Updated: February 21, 2024