Diagnosis: prostate cancer - in Germany every year so many carcinomas of the prostate gland are found that this form of cancer has the lung cancer in men as the most common cause of cancer in second place. About one third of patients still die of prostate cancer each year. That would not have to be. Because prostate cancer is one of the slow-growing cancers, and if it is detected early enough, the chances of recovery are 80 percent.
Precaution: Important for men over 45
The cancer statistics are frightening, but it causes education and precaution to be taken more and more seriously. Because prostate cancer is one of the slow-growing cancers, ie in early detection, the chances of recovery are 80 percent.
Most affected is the group of 50- to 75-year-olds. Those who die of prostate cancer in Germany have become 77.6 years old on average. That's a good three years more than the statistical male dying age.
Unfortunately, prostate cancer can grow entirely without discomfort. Therefore, for the man over 45, the check-up is so important.
Benign enlargement or cancer?
The prostate is an approximately chestnut-sized organ, which lies directly under the bladder and like a ring surrounds the urethra. It has an important task: the production of the fluid, which is responsible for the motility of the spermatozoa (sperm) and thus for their fertilization ability.
The production of the secretion is triggered by male hormones, including testosterone, which is produced in the testes (testes). In an ejaculation, the ejaculation, the secretion formed by the prostate is added to the seminal fluid. This happens in the prostate-gated area of the urethra.
The size of a healthy prostate remains approximately constant until the age of 45. Enlargement of the prostate, which then begins in most men, is a normal part of the aging process and can cause urinary symptoms. This benign enlargement of the prostate gland is called BPH - benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Enlargement of the prostate by a tumor
When malignant prostate tumor (also: malignant prostate cancer) degenerate initially single cells, divide, grow, until they finally penetrate the various layers of the prostate. Here, the tumor spreads and destroys more tissue.
The patient first notices the first symptoms when the urethra is narrowed by the tumor and he has problems urinating. At an even more advanced stage, metastases settle in the bones, usually around the lumbar spine.
Precaution and examination methods
Because of its location to the rectum, the prostate can be well palpated with the finger and sensed pathological changes. From the age of 45, the health insurances reimburse this digital rectal examination (DRU).
However, a more reliable one among the medical profession is a blood test called the PSA test, because a prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate, can be detected in the blood. A value of four nanograms per milliliter (4 ng / ml) is considered normal; higher values may (but need not) indicate prostate cancer. The health insurance companies reimburse the costs (about 15 euros) for the PSA test in the context of cancer screening only in exceptional cases.
Ultrasound is another method of detecting changes in the prostate gland. About the rectum, an ultrasound head is pushed over the prostate and scanned with sound. A tissue sample, the so-called biopsy, the doctor takes only a reasonable suspicion of cancer.
How is prostate cancer treated?
In the treatment of prostate cancer, there are several options and combinations of therapies that can be tailored very individually to the patient. Sometimes the entire prostate is surgically removed to completely remove the tumor. An alternative is the radiation, in which the tumor tissue is deliberately destroyed.
Some patients only receive hormone therapy. It is intended to cause testosterone production in the testes to be discontinued - namely, testosterone is decisively involved in the development of prostate cancer.
The doctors warn against false hopes for a herbal supplement called PC-SPES, a dietary supplement that is freely available in America. Despite some (even scientifically) proven positive results, such as lowering the PSA value, the drug is not approved in Germany, because there are always new side effects known, such as thrombosis.
Ultrasound as a treatment method
At the Heidelberg Clinic for Prostate Therapy there is now good experience with high-intensity focussed ultrasound: A probe introduced into the rectum directs a precisely focused ultrasound field onto the prostate.
Due to the strong focus of the sound field, temperatures up to 95 ° C occur, which precisely cause destruction of the diseased tissue.
Conclusion: preventive examinations favor healing
All doctors are in agreement: If all men over the age of 45, and not just about every sixth German, would use the check-ups, the mortality rate would be much lower. As a slow-growing cancer, prostate cancer is very treatable, especially in the early stages.