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Prostate Cancer In Young Adults: What You Need To Know

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores the risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for prostate cancer in young adults.

“When we think of prostate cancer, we often associate it with older men,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“However, prostate cancer can also affect young adults.”

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland – a small walnut-shaped gland located beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate gland generates seminal fluid, which nourishes and transports sperm during ejaculation.

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer in Young Adults

Several factors may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer at a younger age:

1. Family history: A family history of prostate cancer, particularly in close relatives like fathers, brothers, or sons, increases the risk for younger adults.

 

2. Genetic factors: Inherited genetic abnormalities are linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in young people.

 

3. Lifestyle factors: A high-fat diet, obesity, and a lack of physical exercise may raise the risk of prostate cancer in young people. Smoking and exposure to environmental pollutants may also have an impact.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer in Young Adults

Prostate cancer in young adults may present with similar symptoms to those seen in older men, although they are less common. Common symptoms of prostate cancer may include:

 

  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty starting or maintaining urination.
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow.
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Pain in the pelvic area, lower back, or hips.

 

It’s important to remember that many of these symptoms may also be caused by non-cancerous illnesses, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis. However, any persistent or worrying symptoms should be checked by a doctor to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer in Young Adults

 

Diagnosing prostate cancer in young adults can be challenging due to its rarity in this age group. However, if symptoms are present or there is a family history of prostate cancer, healthcare professionals may recommend screening tests to evaluate prostate health. Standard diagnostic tests for prostate cancer may include:

 

1. Digital rectal exam (DRE): During a DRE, a healthcare professional inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities in the prostate gland, such as lumps or enlargement.

 

2. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: The PSA test examines the amount of PSA, a protein generated by the prostate gland, in the bloodstream. PSA readings over normal may suggest prostate cancer or other prostate problems.

 

3. Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS): A TRUS generates pictures of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues using sound waves. This test may be used to assess the prostate’s size, shape, and structure and detect any abnormalities.

 

4. Prostate biopsy: If abnormalities are detected, a prostate biopsy may be performed to obtain tissue samples for further analysis.

Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer in Young Adults

The treatment approach for prostate cancer in young adults depends on various factors, including the cancer’s stage, grade, and aggressiveness, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences. Treatment options may include:

Active surveillance: For low-risk prostate cancer, doctors may suggest active surveillance. This means regularly checking the cancer’s progress without immediate treatment.

Surgery: Surgery options for prostate cancer include removing the whole prostate gland and surrounding tissues (called radical prostatectomy) or targeting and destroying cancer areas while keeping healthy tissue intact (focal therapy).

Radiation therapy: High-energy beams kill cancer cells in the prostate gland.

Hormone therapy: Also known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), this treatment lowers male hormone levels in the body to shrink or stop prostate cancer cells from growing.

Chemotherapy: If prostate cancer spreads, chemotherapy drugs may be used to kill cancer cells. These drugs can be taken by mouth or injected.

Targeted therapy: Medications specifically target and slow down cancer cell growth by blocking specific pathways or molecules involved in cancer development and spread.

Immunotherapy: Drugs help the body’s immune system recognise and fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used alone or with other treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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