5 key points about prostate cancer

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland that is part of the male urinary and reproductive system, it is located at the exit of the bladder and forms part of the bladder neck and urethra. Its function is eminently reproductive and consists in the maturation of spermatozoa through its secretion, which is part of the content of semen.

What is the cause of prostate cancer? Is it hereditary?

The cause of prostate cancer is one of the most researched facts that has been investigated in recent years. It is known to be genetic alterations that lead to chromosomal aberrations and the appearance of prostate tumors.

One of the pathways that is most related to the appearance of prostate cancer is the metabolic pathway of cholesterol and all its derivations and, with respect to whether it is hereditary, it is known that patients who have first-degree relatives, such as their father or brothers, with prostate cancer, have a greater risk of having prostate cancer. That is why this type of patient is recommended to have more prevention with more periodic controls.

Can it be prevented?

Today, unfortunately, it is still not possible to prevent it. It is known that there are various substances, such as tomatoes, vitamin E, lycopenes and pumpkin seeds, which can have a positive effect in slowing down the onset of prostate cancer, but there is no prevention factor, such as giving up smoking in the case of lung and bladder cancer or exposure to the sun in the case of skin cancer.

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What is the life expectancy of a prostate cancer patient?

The life expectancy of patients with prostate cancer is very variable and depends fundamentally on the risk groups. We urologists, depending on the clinicopathological variables that each patient presents, stratify the patients into different risk groups. Fortunately, the great majority of patients, 60%, are grouped in what we call low or very low risk, which means that these patients will not die of their prostate cancer.

What advances are currently available to treat it?

Fortunately in the last few years there has been a revolution of novel treatments in prostate cancer, dividing patients into the different stages and risk groups, into patients with low or very low risk tumors.

There has been a revolution in active surveillance programs or focal treatments that aim to treat the focal lesion within the prostate and not the entire prostate as in radical treatments. This reduces the side effects of radical treatments and improves the quality of life of these patients.

In patients with tumors or disseminated disease, distant metastatic disease, the novelties have come above all in pharmacological treatments with new chemotherapy molecules, new hormonal treatments, drugs directed against the bone, vaccines, etc., which have allowed an increase in the life expectancy of these patients with a substantial improvement in their quality of life.