If you are Male 50 years or older you need to read this!
After skin cancer, PROSTATE CANCER is the most common form of cancer in men.
The prostate is a small gland weighing about 25 grams. It is positioned just above the pelvic floor muscles just below the bladder with the rectum behind. The urethra, which is responsible for carrying urine from the bladder, runs through the centre of the prostate. The main function of the prostate is to make an alkaline fluid which mixes with sperm during ejaculation to create semen. The ducts in the prostate gland flow into the urethra, and when ejaculation takes place the prostate ‘squeezes’ these ducts and the fluid flows into the urethra and is ejaculated with sperm (which has been brought from the testes) as semen.
Warning signs of prostate cancer
- Burning or painful sensation when urinating
- Straining to urinate or weak flow of urine
- Frequent urge to urinate through the night
- Problems starting or stopping urination
- Sudden onset of erectile disfunction
- Blood in the urine or seminal fluid
- In addition pain may be felt around the base of the penis and behind the scrotum, there may also be a feeling of rectal pain or pressure
What causes Prostate Cancer?
It is stiil unclear what causes prostate cancer, but research has brought to light some major risk factors. These are :-
The chances of developing this form of cancer goes up significantly after the age of 50, of course the age can be younger if you are prone to this form of cancer due to genetics or family history. It is rare before the age of 40.
African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer and this also may happen at an early age for this group. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5175208/)
If a close relative has been diagnosed with prostate cancer there is a higher chance that it could develop in other family male members.
mutations the BRCA1 and BRC2 genes can increase the chance of prostate cancer.
Inactive and overweight men are more prone to prostate cancer.
Eating a diet rich in fats especially animal fat, red meat full nfat milk, cheese and processed meats may increase prostate cancer risk.
Cigarette smoking can affect circulating hormone levels in the body increasing the prostate cancer risk. It also exposes the body to carcinogens.
Exposure to chemicals
Exposure to pesticides has been linked to prostate cancer. Also chemicals, namely benzene, tolene and xylene which are used in the manufacture of polymers, rubber, leather tanning and also found in gasolene.
As with all cancers early detection is key. If prostate cancer is caught in its early stages and is still localised it is easier for doctors to treat the condition. However, if undetected the malignant cells can become deadly if allowed to spread throughout the body. The first step is to go to your local GP. He will probably suggest a blood test to check the PSA levels.
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. This is a protein which is found in the fluid secreted by the prostate gland that helps to lubricate the semen. Some of this protein escapes into the blood stream hence the ability to test through blood screening. If the PSA is above normal there could be a chance of a potential cancer threat.
Your GP will also suggest a test called a digital rectal examination. The prostate lies in front of the rectum and so by inserting a lubricated gloved finger he then can feel for signs of enlargement of the prostate gland, which would cause a bulge behind the rectum wall. He also feels for any nodules on the normally smooth prostate surface and note tenderness felt by patient.
If there are any raised levels of PSA or any abnormalities found through the rectal examination your GP will suggest more indepth tests. He may suggest a prostate biopsy, which is a procedure to extract a sample of tissue cells from the prostate. This is a special procedure carried out by a specialist urologist who deals with mens sex organs and urinary system. The tissue samples the go to the lab where they are examined under a microscope for abnormalities which could be a sign of prostate cancer. Through this, if cancerous cells are evident, the doctor will be able to determine what the best line of treatment is.
Treatments for Prostate cancer
There are many therapies for the treatment of prosate cancer. These depend on the stage that the cancer has progressed. Knowing what stage the cancer is will determine decisions on ongoing treatment, it also enables the patient to know the progbosis and what to expect. The stages are as follows:-
Stage 0 – show precancerous cells are present., but only a small area is affected.
Stage 1- Cancer cells are present in the prostate gland.
Stage 2- The cancer is still only in the prostate but has spread to nearby tissue and may be found in both lobes of the prostate.
Stage 3- The PSA is high. The tumor is growing and spreading. The cancer has now spread to nearby lymph nodes and may have spread to the seminal vesicles, bladder and rectum.
Stage 4- Cancer has spread to other p[arts of the body including organs like the lungs and bones.
Your Specialist will look at your results and suggest the best course of action to give you the best chance of prolonging your life. These could include, waiting and monitoring levels, Radiation therapy, Hormone therapy, Chemotherapy, immunotherapy. There can be side effects of prostate cancer treatment which may include bowel and urinary complications loss of fertility and erectile disfunction.
The Benefits of Cannabidiol for Prostate Cancer
There are two main cannabinoids that have been investigated – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The studies found that cannabinoids may stop prostate cancer cells from growing and dividing, cause prostate cancer cells to die, and stop prostate cancer cells from invading other tissues and spreading.
Cannabinoids produce their physical and psychological effects by interacting with specific receptors on cell surfaces that have an affinity for these compounds. There are two types of receptors:
- Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) are mostly found in the brain, and also in the male and female reproductive systems. To a lesser extent, they exist in central and peripheral pain pathways (nerves) which may explain why pain relief is a benefit of cannabinoids, particularly THC.
- Cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) are primarily found in the immune system, and may be associated with anti-inflammatory and other therapeutic effects of cannabis.
Promising Results as many more Scientific research stduies and medical trials are taking place on Cannabidiol and other Cannabanoids
It is still early days in the world of medical cannabis. Claims about CBD for cancer treatment and how this compound may help manage symptoms associated with this disease and its treatment.
CBD is a different compound to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is an active cannabinoid in cannabis that causes a “high”
Cannabinoids and cannabis itself may have their place as a complementary treatment in some cases, for example, for people who need help managing chronic pain and nausea.
BENEFITS OF CBD FOR PROSTATE CANCER
- Relief of Pain
- Relief from Nausea
- Triggers Apoptosis
Although CBD may have a beneficial effect on appetite and weight loss, it may conversely cause weight gain. CBD has been shown to increase appetite in some studies. In fact, one of the most common side effects of CBD treatment is appetite change.
An Interesting scentific study conducted in Spain in recent years had extremely promising results.
Normal prostate cells have both CB1 and CB2 receptors. But prostate cancer cells have an excess of these receptors.
The scientists studied three separate populations of human prostate cancer cells. They grew the cells in their laboratory, and then added two different cannabinoids, one of which was a potent CB2 stimulator. A series of experiments demonstrated that cannabinoid-induced activation of the CB2 receptor slowed the growth of all three types of human prostate cancer cells.
More than that, cannabinoids that target CB2 were actually able to kill prostate cancer cells by triggering apoptosis, a fundamental biological process best explained as programmed cell death by suicide.
The next step in the research was to transplant one type of human prostate cancer cell, known as PC-3, into mice. Two weeks later, after the tumor cells had grown substantially, the mice were divided into three groups. One group was treated with saline (salt water, the equivalent of a placebo in a human drug trial); another group received a cannabinoid; the third group got the same cannabinoid plus a second chemical that stopped it from stimulating CB2. As compared to the other animals, the mice who received the cannabinoid alone experienced a significant reduction in tumor growth.
The Spanish scientists performed additional experiments that showed how cannabinoids that stimulate CB2 receptors on prostate cancer cells signal chemical pathways inside the cell to slow cell division and trigger cell death by suicide. It’s elegant basic research, and it is particularly exciting since the human PC-3 prostate cancer cells that were successfully treated in mice were the aggressive androgen-independent cells that are most often responsible for prostate cancer fatalities.
The beneficial properties of CBD and its effect on prostate cancer as well as its analgesic (acting to relieve pain) properties for bone metastatic cancer pain, make it a great addition to cancer therapy of all types especially prostate cancer. Those looking to experiment with CBD and other cannabis products should always check with their general practitioner or doctor first.