Prostate cancer is very common in men (in some countries such as France, it is the 2nd most common cancer, the 1st being lung cancer) and represents on average 20% of male cancers in global. It is estimated that one in eight men is affected in his lifetime by this cancer. It is more common in men over 50 and even more so in men over 65. Age therefore plays a central role at the epidemiological level.
Prostate cancer is a cancer that is rarely serious. According to an article published in the leading American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, more than 99% of cases of prostate cancer can be cured. In other words, only a minority of patients will develop an aggressive and potentially fatal form of this form of cancer. One reason is that tumors in the prostate often grow very slowly and in the majority of cases remain harmless. The great difficulty for the doctor is to know whether or not the tumor requires a medical intervention such as surgery.
Known factors for the occurrence of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer has no clearly defined causes, but it is believed that certain factors can promote its development such as genetic or external causes such as tobacco, lack of exercise or an unhealthy diet.
Age plays an essential role, prostate cancer generally appears in men over 50 years old. But the vast majority of cases of prostate cancer, 75% of cases, manifests after the age of 65.
Heredity (genetic factors) plays an essential role, this means that if cases of prostate cancer have appeared in the family, the probability of developing this type of cancer increases sharply (risk 3 to 8 times greater).
Typical symptoms of prostate cancer
The typical symptoms of prostate cancer are often imperceptible (asymptomatic) at first or can be confused with those of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) with urinary difficulties. In advanced stages, the symptoms are more marked and may include bone pain or even blood in the urine.
Diagnosis and prevention, essential in the management of prostate cancer, are always done by a doctor and are generally based on a digital rectal examination and sometimes by a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) assay, beware the PSA test is still more controversial as a means of prevention in healthy men.
The doctor will confirm the diagnosis by performing a biopsy. From the age of 45 (40 for men at risk), every man should have an annual prostate check-up with his doctor, because the earlier prostate cancer is detected, the higher the chances of recovery.
Genetic tests, carried out on a sample from a prostate biopsy and which analyze up to 17 different genes, increasingly make it possible to assess the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. This helps the doctor and patient make the best treatment decision (eg whether or not to have surgery).
Unknown and surprising factors
In black men, the risk is 2 times higher than whites and the risk of death is 2.5 to 3 times higher than average.
People with early baldness (from the age of 20). According to a study published in February 2011, men who suffered from prostate cancer were twice as likely to experience early baldness (from the age of 20). Early baldness can therefore be a precursor and should prompt screening from the age of 40.
Men whose right hand index finger is smaller than the ring finger are 33% more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men whose index finger is larger than the ring finger.
People who use anabolics (too high testosterone levels) or smokers may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Men suffering from trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD). According to American researchers, this STD could promote the development of prostate cancer.