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causes of prostate cancer

Hearing the word cancer automatically leaves people fearing the potentially fatal consequences. But the nature of the disease which affects the prostate isn't as prolific a killer as other forms of the condition - although that doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Indeed, despite the fact that many males with cancer of the prostate gland will not need any immediate treatment, it still needs to be closely monitored to ensure that the cancerous cells do not suddenly become more aggressive.

Here we're going to take a quick look at prostate cancer and some of the methods that are used to cure the condition which, in its worst form, can result in tragic consequences.

How common is prostate cancer?

In the UK, the disease is the most prevalent type of cancer found in men - 40,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.

A man's chances of developing the condition increase with age - especially when they are upwards of 50 years old - and it is thought that this is because prostate enlargement can be a natural part of the ageing process.

What causes prostate cancer?

While there is no definitive understanding of the exact causes of the disease, there are a number of factors that are known to put men at higher risk of suffering from it.

For example, links have been drawn between having a badly balanced diet and prostate cancer, while you are also more likely to develop the disease if there is a history of it in the family.

Another thing it's important to note is that - for a reason that is currently unknown - the condition is more common in African and Afro-Caribbean males than it is in Asian men.

How is prostate cancer treated?

Many men who have the disease will not necessarily require treatment - it is not a fast-growing cancer and some males may not even notice any prostate cancer symptoms.

In these instances, the best course of action is to monitor the condition closely to check for any signs that it may get more aggressive, and this is something that experts will keep a tab on.

However, for some men treatment will be a necessity if the disease is showing signs of spreading to other areas of the body, and the most appropriate method for tackling the condition will depend on the individual.

For example, if the cancer is still confined to the prostate, more traditional techniques will be used in a bid to kill the cancer cells and cure the condition.

But if it appears that it has spread and is affecting other parts of the body, sometimes the best approach is to delay the symptoms and prolong life - this is in circumstances where the cancer has reached a point where it is incurable.

Methods ranging from radiotherapy and chemotherapy to steroid treatments and radical prostatectomies are employed to tackle the cancer depending on its nature and the stage of ifs development, with men having the best chance of survival if the disease is caught early.