Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Canada and Quebec. It mainly affects men over the age of 50, but can also be detected in young adults. Trans or non-binary people born with a prostate can also be affected.
Prostate cancer develops slowly and non-aggressively. It can therefore be easily treated if diagnosed in time, i.e. before it spreads outside the prostate.
In our article, find out more about the causes and symptoms, and how to diagnose and treat it. For more information, contact a healthcare professional.
What are the causes?
The main risk factors for prostate cancer are as follows:
- Age: Initially the size of a walnut, the organ gradually increases in size with age. The incidence rate peaks in men aged 70 to 79.
- Ethnic origin: This cancer affects more men of African and Caribbean origin. Men of Asian origin are less affected.
- Family history: As this cancer is often hereditary, it is important to ask your family about it, as this can double the risk.
- Genetic mutations.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Lifestyle: An unhealthy diet, inactivity and smoking can all increase the risk of prostate cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?
The more advanced the cancer, the larger the prostate tumours, and the more signs will be present. Indeed, the prostate is located below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the outside world. As it enlarges, it will press on other organs and trigger various symptoms:
- Urinary incontinence
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Pain or burning during urination
- Other urination problems
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain during ejaculation
- Lower back pain
However, if the tumours are small, so at an early stage of the cancer, it is possible that no symptoms will be detected. That’s why screening is so important.
How to detect prostate cancer?
Consult a doctor or an urologist
As you reach your fifties, you need to start taking an interest in this subject. Start by making an appointment with your family doctor or directly with a urologist. He or she will ask you questions to know whether you are more or less at risk of developing prostate cancer, and whether you are already experiencing symptoms. To confirm his hypothesis, the doctor may ask you to undergo one or more tests.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
Prostate cancer can be detected using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Carried out by taking a blood sample in a clinic or laboratory, it can be used to determine the risk of contracting this cancer or to detect it at an early stage.
It may be impressive, but it is a completely harmless examination. The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to palpate the prostate and assess its size and shape, as well as the presence of any tumours.
Prostate MRI fusion guided biopsy
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor or urologist may also ask for a biopsy, i.e. a small piece of the prostate gland is removed using a needle. It will then be analysed.
To better target the area to be biopsied, the examination can be guided by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, combined with an ultrasound image. This ensures that the sample taken corresponds to the area where the risk of cancer is present. This innovative method is not offered by all healthcare professionals, but is available at ELNA Urology.
What treatments exist?
If one of these tests detects prostate cancer, your doctor will advise you on a treatment suited to the type of cancer, its stage, your general health and your preferences.
You may be offered a number of options, including :
- Surgical treatment to remove all or part of the prostate gland
- Radiotherapy to eliminate certain cancer cells
- Hormone therapy to reduce or slow the spread of cancer cells
Each of these treatments can have side effects such as incontinence or impotence. Talk to your doctor to make the right choice.
Urology clinic for prostate problems
Don’t wait until you have symptoms to get tested! As you can see, it’s important to see a doctor or urologist as soon as possible to prevent symptoms from becoming too advanced and the cancer from spreading.
ELNA offers urology services in several of its clinics, including a specialised clinic in Montreal ELNA Urology. Make an appointment to get screened.
ELNA Urology offers urological services for men and women. The medical team’s expertise means that it specialises in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder, prostate, reproductive organs and urinary system.