Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men, but the good news is — it’s also one of the most successfully treated through both conventional and holistic treatment for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer develops in the walnut-shaped gland that is responsible for producing semen and transporting sperm. Many men, and some women, question, can prostate cancer spread?. Although it’s not always the case, this type of cancer is typically slow-growing. It lingers in the prostate gland without spreading or causing major damage.
However, if prostate cancer is left untreated, it will eventually destroy the prostate and spread to local and distant organs. The best thing you can do is be proactive, take control of your health, and be familiar with any changes going on in your body. With that said, regular checkups are important, but you can also do this yourself. If you’re wondering how to check for prostate cancer at home, the best thing you can do is know what symptoms to look for, and stay knowledgeable about what the four stages of prostate cancer are.
Checking for Prostate Cancer
When you’re checking for prostate cancer, it’s important to know the symptoms. When you’re aware of the signs, prostate cancer can be caught early. Because prostate cancer doesn’t typically show signs early on, this particular cancer is typically found through PSA blood test or digital rectal exams.
But, there are typically five major warning signs of prostate cancer; however, as cancer progresses, symptoms typically involve the urinary system. Because the prostate is located close to the urethra and bladder, symptoms might include 1 :
- Frequent urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- The urge to urinate frequently at night
- Blood in the urine or seminal fluid
- Erectile dysfunction (new-onset)
- Pain or burning during urination (a less common symptom)
- Discomfort or pain while sitting down (caused by an enlarged prostate)
- Coughing or loss of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Hip or back pain
- Leg swelling or weakness
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms. And if you do catch any of these symptoms, try not to panic. These particular symptoms can often have to do with non-cancerous conditions of the prostate, as well as bladder infections.
It’s important to know that there are also several different types of prostate cancer. The most common types found in prostate cancer patients include:
- Acinar adenocarcinoma – Cancerous cells or tumors that originate in the gland cells lining the prostate gland. This accounts for the vast majority of cases of prostate cancer.
- Ductal adenocarcinoma – Begins in the cells that line the prostate gland’s ducts. It’s a more aggressive and more invasive form of adenocarcinoma.
- Transitional cell cancer – Also known as urothelial cancer, this starts in the cells that line the urethra. While it can begin in the prostate, it most commonly starts in the bladder and then spreads to the prostate.
- Squamous cell cancer – A quickly developing and spreading cancer cells that grow on the flat cells covering the prostate.
- Small cell prostate cancer – A form of neuroendocrine cancer that is composed of small round cells.
What Tests Detect Prostate Cancer Early?
Because prostate cancer can’t necessarily be detected at home, it’s a good idea to learn about the tests that provide early detection 2 . Keep in mind that these tests can’t decipher whether or not you have prostate cancer and, following the test, your doctor will most likely suggest a prostate biopsy. If you’re wondering how to check for prostate cancer at home, your best bet (aside from knowing the signs and symptoms) is to leave it to your health care professional.
PSA Blood Test
A Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is made by the cells of the prostate gland. PSA is found in semen, with a small amount in the blood. Men without prostate cancer often have PSA levels under 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood. As the PSA level goes up, so does the likelihood of having prostate cancer (however, having a level below 4 does not mean a man doesn’t have prostate cancer).
The American Cancer Society reports that men with a PSA level of between 4 and 10 have roughly a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. With a PSA of over 10, the chance of having prostate cancer rises to over 50%. Following the PSA test, if the levels are high, a doctor may suggest a repeat test or a prostate biopsy.
In addition to prostate cancer, there are many other factors that can affect a man’s PSA levels.
Reasons for a High PSA:
- Enlarged prostate: An enlarged prostate can be caused by conditions like BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate.
- Age: As men get older, it’s normal for PSA levels to slowly rise (even if there are no prostate abnormalities).
- Prostatitis: Infection or inflammation of the prostate gland, known as prostatitis, can also raise PSA levels.
- Ejaculation: Ejaculation can make the PSA fluctuate. For this reason, doctors advise men to abstain from ejaculation a day or two before the PSA test.
- Bicycle Riding: Because the bicycle seat puts pressure on the prostate, some studies have shown that cycling may cause PSA levels to rise.
- Urologic procedures: Some urologic procedures (like a prostate biopsy or cystoscopy) can lead to higher PSA levels for a small period of time. Some studies have also shown that a digital rectal exam (or DRE) might also raise these levels.
- Medicines: Certain medicine, like testosterone or other medicines that raise testosterone levels, might cause a rise in PSA.
Reasons for a Low PSA:
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors: Some drugs that treat BPH or urinary symptoms, like finasteride (Proscar or Propecia) or dutasteride (Avodart), might lower your PSA levels.
- Herbal mixtures: Certain mixtures and dietary supplements might hide a high PSA level. For this reason, let your doctor know what you’re taking and any sort of supplements you might be using.
- Obesity: Obese men often have lower PSA levels.
- Aspirin: Some research suggests men who regularly take aspirin have lower PSA levels.
- Statins: Statins, also known as cholesterol-lowering drugs like atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor), have been associated with lower PSA levels in long term users.
- Thiazide diuretics: Some diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) (a type of water pill often used to treat high blood pressure) have been linked to lower PSA levels.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
In addition to the PSA blood test, your doctor might also perform a DRE 3 . Although a digital rectal exam might be a bit uncomfortable, it’s not uncommon. During this process, the doctor will insert a finger into the rectum to feel around for bumps or hard spots on the prostate, as these could indicate cancer. Because prostate cancer often begins near the back of the gland, doing this exam allows doctors to feel for around for that. Typically, the exam is short and not painful for the patient.
If you’re wondering how to check for prostate cancer at home, the best thing you can do is to stay in-tune with your body. Know when there are changes to your urinary patterns. If you find yourself needing to urinate more frequently at night, or if you find you have a weak or interrupted urine flow, these might be signs of prostate cancer. Blood in the urine or semen is another symptom, as is erectile dysfunction. You might also feel pain when sitting down, brought on by an enlarged prostate.
When you notice these symptoms, make sure to contact your health care provider immediately. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, know that prostate cancer is curable and that life after treatment can be bright and positive.
Alternative Cancer Treatments
At Immunity Therapy Center, we offer a holistic treatment for prostate cancer. We work with natural cancer treatment options to bring a bounty of health to the body, the mind, and the spirit. We focus on immunotherapy to strengthen the entire immune system while also fighting the cancer cells.
Each case is unique; that’s why we focus on a combination of specialized treatments and customized plans at our holistic cancer treatment center. Dr. Bautista will not prescribe any cancer treatments or alternative therapies until he has completed a thorough consultation and evaluation. He will then tailor a treatment specifically to your body based on previous medical treatments, prior therapy, medical, and family history and the type of cancer and stage.
If you’re curious about the types of prostate cancer natural treatment we offer, feel free to reach out today. We believe that patients with a positive outlook, see positive results. We look forward to starting a natural, holistic, integrative treatment program with you soon.