%> Granville Family Pharmacy
Your Local Pharmacist is

Morris Morcos

1 60 South St
Granville NSW 2142
ph: (02) 9637 5765
fax: (02) 9682 6368

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:: In Brief

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:: Prostate Cancer


  Healthy Men
  Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small gland which is part of the male reproductive system. It produces a fluid which protects and enriches sperm. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder. It is shaped like a doughnut. Through the hole in the centre of the prostate passes the urethra, a tube which empties urine from the bladder through the penis.

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate keep growing when they don't need to. Normally, the body's cells reproduce themselves in an orderly manner so that growth occurs and damaged or worn-out tissues are replaced. Sometimes, however, cells continue growing into a mass of tissue called a tumour which can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Malignant cells can build up into a lump or tumour. In some cases, the malignant cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph system.

Approximately 4,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in NSW. Prostate cancer is rare in men under 50 years old but is the most common cancer in men over 55 years. In NSW approximately 900 men will die of prostate cancer each year. More than half of these deaths occur in men over 75 years old. In general, the older a man is, the more likely he is to develop prostate cancer. A family history of prostate cancer may put you at higher risk of developing prostate cancer yourself.
 

Signs & Symptoms:

In the early stages, prostate cancer does not usually produce any symptoms.  It may be found during routine examination.  Symptoms are caused by the prostate growing and causing the urethra to narrow..

Possible signs include:

  • difficulty starting urine flow
  • slow, interrupted urine flow and dribbling afterwards
  • frequent passing of urine
  • a smaller, weaker urine flow
  • feeling that you have not quite emptied your bladder
  • blood in the urine
  • sudden strong urges to urinate
  • getting up often at night to go to the toilet
  • pain when urinating

In advanced stages, cancer may spread beyond the prostate gland and cause problems in the kidneys, bones and bowel.

Medication:

Enlarged prostate can be trated with meidication, eg. Flomax, alpha blockers which relieve symptoms.

Alpha reductuse inhibitors, eg. Proscar can potentially shrink the prostate.
 

Treatment:

If the cancer is found early there is a better chance that it can be successfully treated.

Prostate problems are not always treated straight away.  Your doctor may keep a careful watch before deciding what treatment is needed.  They type of treatment recommended will depend on what sort of prostate problem you have.

  • Surgery where the cancer is removed in an operation. There are two types of surgery, one aims to cure (prostatectomy), the other to relieve the blocking (transurethral resection).
  • Radiotherapy where high energy X-rays are used to destroy cancer cells while doing as little harm as possible to surrounding normal cells. Radiotherapy will not make you radioactive and you are safe to be around others.
  • Hormone therapy if the prostate cancer seems to need male hormones to survive. Hormone therapy involves stopping the supply of these hormones to the cancer

There are also some natural remedies, including products containing saw palmetto

Treatment is usually more successful the earlier prostate cancer is detected.

More Information:

NSW Cancer Council's Cancer Council - www.cancercouncil.com.au 
Prostate Cancer Foundation - www.prostate.org.au 
Prostae Cancer Institute - www.prostatecancer.org.au 
 

Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • medications for managing prostate cancer
  • help to stop smoking
  • help with weight loss 

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