Prostate Cancer, meaning and as it affects men

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells, and can then spread to other areas of the body. To learn more about cancer and how it starts and spreads, see What Is Cancer?

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.

The prostate is below the bladder (the hollow organ where urine is stored) and in front of the rectum (the last part of the intestines). Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostate.

The size of the prostate can change as a man ages. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.

Prostate cancer
PhotoCredit: cancer.org

 

Types of prostate cancer

Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers develop from the gland cells (the cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen).

Other types of cancer that can start in the prostate include:

  • Small cell carcinomas
  • Neuroendocrine tumors (other than small cell carcinomas)
  • Transitional cell carcinomas
  • Sarcomas

These other types of prostate cancer are rare. If you are told you have prostate cancer, it is almost certain to be an adenocarcinoma.

Some prostate cancers grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly. In fact, autopsy studies show that many older men (and even some younger men) who died of other causes also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. In many cases, neither they nor their doctors even knew they had it.

Possible pre-cancerous conditions of the prostate

Some research suggests that prostate cancer starts out as a pre-cancerous condition, although this is not yet known for sure. These conditions are sometimes found when a man has a prostate biopsy (removal of small pieces of the prostate to look for cancer).

Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN)

In PIN, there are changes in how the prostate gland cells look when seen with a microscope, but the abnormal cells don’t look like they are growing into other parts of the prostate (like cancer cells would). Based on how abnormal the patterns of cells look, they are classified as:

  • Low-grade PIN: The patterns of prostate cells appear almost normal.
  • High-grade PIN: The patterns of cells look more abnormal.

Low-grade PIN is not thought to be related to a man’s risk of prostate cancer. On the other hand, high-grade PIN is thought to be a possible precursor to prostate cancer. If you have a prostate biopsy and high-grade PIN is found, there is a greater chance that you might develop prostate cancer over time.

PIN begins to appear in the prostates of some men as early as in their 20s. But many men with PIN will never develop prostate cancer.

For more on PIN, see Tests to Diagnose and Stage Prostate Cancer.

Proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA)

In PIA, the prostate cells look smaller than normal, and there are signs of inflammation in the area. PIA is not cancer, but researchers believe that PIA may sometimes lead to high-grade PIN, or perhaps directly to prostate cancer.

 

What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Researchers do not know exactly what causes prostate cancer. But they have found some risk factors and are trying to learn just how these factors might cause prostate cells to become cancer cells.

On a basic level, prostate cancer is caused by changes in the DNA of a normal prostate cell. DNA is the chemical in our cells that makes up our genes, which control how our cells function. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than just how we look.

Some genes control when our cells grow, divide into new cells, and die:

  • Certain genes that help cells grow, divide, and stay alive are called oncogenes.
  • Genes that normally keep cell growth under control, repair mistakes in DNA, or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes.

Cancer can be caused by DNA mutations (or other types of changes) that keep oncogenes turned on, or that turn off tumor suppressor genes. These types of gene changes can lead to cells growing out of control.

DNA changes can either be inherited from a parent or can be acquired during a person’s lifetime.

Inherited gene mutations

Some gene mutations can be passed from generation to generation (inherited) and are found in all cells in the body. Inherited gene changes are thought to play a role in about 10% of prostate cancers. Cancer caused by inherited genes is called hereditary cancer. Several inherited mutated genes have been linked to hereditary prostate cancer, including:

  • BRCA1 and BRCA2: These tumor suppressor genes normally help repair mistakes in a cell’s DNA (or cause the cell to die if the mistake can’t be fixed). Inherited mutations in these genes more commonly cause breast and ovarian cancer in women. But changes in these genes (especially BRCA2) also account for a small number of prostate cancers.
  • CHEK2ATMPALB2, and RAD51D: Mutations in these other DNA repair genes might also be responsible for some hereditary prostate cancers.
  • DNA mismatch repair genes (such as MSH2MSH6MLH1, and PMS2): These genes normally help fix mistakes (mismatches) in DNA that can be made when a cell is preparing to divide into 2 new cells. (Cells must make a new copy of their DNA each time they divide.) Men with inherited mutations in one of these genes have a condition known as Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, or HNPCC), and are at increased risk of colorectal, prostate, and some other cancers.
  • RNASEL (formerly HPC1): The normal function of this tumor suppressor gene is to help cells die when something goes wrong inside them. Inherited mutations in this gene might let abnormal cells live longer than they should, which can lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • HOXB13: This gene is important in the development of the prostate gland. Mutations in this gene have been linked to early-onset prostate cancer (prostate cancer diagnosed at a young age) that runs in some families. Fortunately, this mutation is rare.

Other inherited gene mutations may account for some hereditary prostate cancers, and research is being done to find these genes.

Acquired gene mutations

Some genes mutate during a person’s lifetime, and the mutation is not passed on to children. These changes are found only in cells that come from the original mutated cell. These are called acquired mutations. Most gene mutations related to prostate cancer seem to develop during a man’s life rather than having been inherited.

Every time a cell prepares to divide into 2 new cells, it must copy its DNA. This process isn’t perfect, and sometimes errors occur, leaving defective DNA in the new cell. It’s not clear how often these DNA changes might be random events, and how often they are influenced by other factors (such as diet, hormone levels, etc.). In general, the more quickly prostate cells grow and divide, the more chances there are for mutations to occur. Therefore, anything that speeds up this process may make prostate cancer more likely.

For example, androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone, promote prostate cell growth. Having higher levels of androgens might contribute to prostate cancer risk in some men.

Some research has found that men with high levels of another hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), are more likely to get prostate cancer. However, other studies have not found such a link. Further research is needed to make sense of these findings.

As mentioned in Prostate Cancer Risk Factors, some studies have found that inflammation in the prostate might be linked to prostate cancer. One theory is that inflammation might lead to cell DNA damage, which could contribute to a normal cell becoming a cancer cell. More research is needed in this area.

Exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals can cause DNA mutations in many organs, but so far these factors haven’t been shown to be important causes of mutations in prostate cells.

 

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that raises your risk of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.

But having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.

Researchers have found several factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer.

Age

Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.

Race/ethnicity

Prostate cancer develops more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. And when it does develop in these men, they tend to be younger. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear.

Geography

Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America.

The reasons for this are not clear. More intensive screening for prostate cancer in some developed countries probably accounts for at least part of this difference, but other factors such as lifestyle differences (diet, etc.) are likely to be important as well. For example, Asian Americans have a lower risk of prostate cancer than white Americans, but their risk is higher than that of men of similar ethnic backgrounds living in Asia.

Family history

Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Still, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it.

Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. (The risk is higher for men who have a brother with the disease than for those who have a father with it.) The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young when the cancer was found.

Gene changes

Several inherited gene changes (mutations) seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they probably account for only a small percentage of cases overall. For example:

  • Inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which are linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers in some families, can also increase prostate cancer risk in men (especially mutations in BRCA2).
  • Men with Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, or HNPCC), a condition caused by inherited gene changes, have an increased risk for a number of cancers, including prostate cancer.

Other inherited gene changes can also raise a man’s risk of prostate cancer. For more on some of these gene changes, see What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Factors with less clear effect on prostate cancer risk

Diet

The exact role of diet in prostate cancer is not clear, but several factors have been studied.

Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat foods (especially dairy products) appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer. These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Doctors aren’t sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk.

Some studies have suggested that men who consume a lot of calcium (through food or supplements) may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Dairy foods (which are often high in calcium) might also increase risk. But most studies have not found such a link with the levels of calcium found in the average diet, and it’s important to note that calcium is known to have other important health benefits.

Obesity

Being obese (very overweight) does not seem to increase the overall risk of getting prostate cancer.

Some studies have found that obese men have a lower risk of getting a low-grade (slower growing) form of the disease, but a higher risk of getting more aggressive (faster growing) prostate cancer. The reasons for this are not clear.

Some studies have also found that obese men may be at greater risk for having more advanced prostate cancer and of dying from prostate cancer, but not all studies have found this.

Smoking

Most studies have not found a link between smoking and getting prostate cancer. Some research has linked smoking to a possible small increased risk of dying from prostate cancer, but this finding needs to be confirmed by other studies.

Chemical exposures

There is some evidence that firefighters can be exposed to chemicals that may increase their risk of prostate cancer.

A few studies have suggested a possible link between exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical used widely during the Vietnam War, and the risk of prostate cancer, although not all studies have found such a link. The National Academy of Medicine considers there to be “limited/suggestive evidence” of a link between Agent Orange exposure and prostate cancer. To learn more, see Agent Orange and Cancer.

Inflammation of the prostate

Some studies have suggested that prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, but other studies have not found such a link. Inflammation is often seen in samples of prostate tissue that also contain cancer. The link between the two is not yet clear, and this is an active area of research.

Sexually transmitted infections

Researchers have looked to see if sexually transmitted infections (like gonorrhea or chlamydia) might increase the risk of prostate cancer, because they can lead to inflammation of the prostate. So far, studies have not agreed, and no firm conclusions have been reached.

Vasectomy

Some studies have suggested that men who have had a vasectomy (minor surgery to make men infertile) have a slightly increased risk for prostate cancer, but other studies have not found this. Research on this possible link is still under way.

 

Culled from cancer.org

 

The advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing in schools

In video conferencing terms, everything is bigger in India. When you have a population in excess of 1.3 billion, you need to take full advantage of all the communication methods you can access. That’s especially true when it comes to rolling out a common curriculum across thousands of schools.

The government of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, for example, will this month begin offering classes via video conferencing in more than 1,000 public schools. The classes will be staged at a central source in the capital city of Chennai and broadcast in real time, with live interaction from students across the state.

It’s a good example of the power that video conferencing has to reshape education in the coming decades. However, employing video in the classroom isn’t as simple as just seating students in front of a webcam. For all the promise of video conferencing, there are downsides as well.

To illustrate the complexity of this new educational technology, we’ve put together a list of the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing in schools.

Video conferencing room
PhotoCredit: Cisco.com

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Conferencing in Schools

Disadvantages:

  1. Less Personal Interaction
  2. Technical Issues Can Interfere with Lessons
  3. Ongoing Costs
  4. Separates the Haves and the Have-Nots

Advantages:

  1. Sharing Resources
  2. Learning Beyond the Classroom
  3. Creating Digital Citizens
  4. New Ways of Learning

Disadvantages:

1. Less Personal Interaction

The downside to having, say, one teacher in charge of teaching several classrooms of students via video conferencing is that it diminishes the opportunity for personal interaction. We’ll stand by the argument that video conferencing’s ability to combine audio and visuals in real-time conversation counts as personal interaction (we dealt with this question in our post on kid-friendly video chat apps), but when you’re faced with a revolving group of 20 to 30 students, there’s precious little time to work one-on-one with the kids. As a result, the danger is that video conferencing becomes a one-way medium, more like a seminar than a class, with scant time allowed for questions and comments from the students themselves, especially if the classes are conducted in large group formats.

2. Technical Issues Can Interfere with Lessons

Relying on video conferencing technology as the basis for learning brings with it a reliance on the hardware, software, and miles of internet connections that make it possible. If you’ve ever sat idle in a video meeting while someone tries to fix the audio or watched helplessly as your video link freezes and drops out, you’ll know there’s always a chance that digital gremlins will derail the entire process.

The same potential trouble lurks within a video meeting staged in a classroom. Only now, you’ve got a teacher struggling to keep the attention of two-dozen students as their lesson plan for the day falls apart.

3. Ongoing Costs

Video conferencing is composed of hardware and software that is in need of continual maintenance and upgrade, just like any other form of school equipment. Webcams and digital screens become obsolete as new technologies emerge–4K video conferencing, for example, is beginning to take hold at the commercial level but requires high-end bandwidth and cameras to be effective. Similarly, new video conferencing platforms with advanced features are released every year that bring new features to the classroom or emerge as the dominant service within a school district.

Of course, new features and capabilities are great, but they bring with them cost and the need for training, which can introduce a new burden to the school budget.

5. Separates the Haves and the Have-Nots

As with the advent of any new technology, there is always the danger that better-resourced communities will gain an advantage over their humbler neighbors. While the internet may seem like an essentially universal commodity, 72% of U.S. school districts don’t have connection speeds high enough to make internet-based learning experiences a central part of the curriculum. In fact, around 2.3 million students attend schools that don’t have reliable internet access at all.

If video conferencing and related technologies become dominant platforms for learning initiatives, there is a chance some students will be left behind.

Advantages:

1. Sharing Resources

The Indian example is a large-scale demonstration of how video conferencing can be used to leverage knowledge resources across schools. The expertise of specialist teachers and the non-core electives they teach can be shared across many schools regardless of their disparate locations. The labor cost can also be shared across institutions allowing expert lessons to be brought to areas that would otherwise not have the population or demand to justify their own courses.

A single teacher sitting in front of a webcam could remain in their office all week and reach out digitally to dozens of classroom and hundreds of students.

2. Learning Beyond the Classroom

Video conferencing is at heart a form of travel. It allows people separated by the tyranny of distance to share face-to-face conversation with the intimacy of friends sharing a park bench. In educational terms, that means using video to take students beyond the walls of the classroom without ever having to leave their desks. It offers the possibility of virtual field trips, conversational interactions with students in other states or nations, and visits to the locations of scientific and cultural investigation. It’s cheaper than any bus or plane trip, and there’s no way anyone gets lost or left behind.

3. Creating Digital Citizens

Students live in a digital world. Their home and social lives are far more likely than not to be littered with smartphones, computers, tablets, and on-demand resources. Central to any school curriculum is the need to prepare young people to participate in the adult world that awaits them after the final school bell rings. That means creating empowered and informed digital citizens who understand the dangers and benefits, the conventions and underlying technology that will govern their future employment and social interaction.

Video conferencing is rapidly growing in popularity and is likely to be a staple of most businesses and means of collaboration into the future. That means it’s important that students are exposed to it from a young age.

4. New Ways of Learning

Video conferencing is a relatively new form of communication and with it come opportunities for new ways of learning. We’ve already seen it employed to completely reverse the traditional educational model throughso-called flipped classrooms. This form of learning lets the student first encounter new material on their own, through online, peer-to-peer interaction, and leaves the teacher to offer more in-depth and personalized attention in the classroom.

Video conferencing also offers a more visual learning environment, one that pulls in other technologies such as film, online gaming, and interactive software-based tools. In this way, video conferencing in the classroom is quickly becoming an added feature that can transform solo learning into a conversational and cooperative experience.

Culled from  VCDAILY

 

Last year, two data scientists from security firm ZeroFOX conducted an experiment to see who was better at getting Twitter users to click on malicious links, humans or an artificial intelligence. The researchers taught an AI to study the behavior of social network users, and then design and implement its own phishing bait. In tests, the artificial hacker was substantially better than its human competitors, composing and distributing more phishing tweets than humans, and with a substantially better conversion rate.

The AI, named SNAP_R, sent simulated spear-phishing tweets to over 800 users at a rate of 6.75 tweets per minute, luring 275 victims. By contrast, Forbes staff writer Thomas Fox-Brewster, who participated in the experiment, was only able to pump out 1.075 tweets a minute, making just 129 attempts and luring in just 49 users.

eyes examination

 

Your eyes are your windows to the world, so it’s important to take good care of them. Things like seeing an eye doctor regularly, getting enough sleep, and giving your eyes regular breaks while you are using a computer can help keep your eyes in good health. If you are having problems with your vision, you should schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn about some of the things you can do to help keep your eyes in good shape.

1. Eat Well

Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with:

  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
  • Oysters and pork

A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Continue reading “ways to take care of your eyes”

Yoga

Yoga can never be underestimated. Yoga is any of several Hindu disciples aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility; especially  a system of exercises practiced to promote control of the body and mind. According to Natalie Nevins (DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California), “The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body.”

While there are more than 100 different types, or schools, of yoga, most sessions are typically include breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures (sometimes called asana or poses) that stretch and flex various muscle groups.

Continue reading “Yoga – A way of life”

 

Our kidneys play a vital role in excreting drugs and toxins in the body but sometimes sheer numbers can be overwhelming and they need some help from us. Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. There are however secrets to kidney health which reduce the risk of developing kidney disease. High blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure put one at an increased risk of developing kidney disease. But even if you don’t fit in any of those risk categories, it’s important to take care of these critically important organs.  You may need to undergo some detoxing therapy and you certainly need to be constantly on guard against the many drugs and other toxins that can actually harm your kidneys.

human kidney
Photocredit: http://www.esicm.org

Continue reading “9 secrets to kidney health”

Many people of this present generation is so conscious of not putting on fat. Here we try to 10 ways to burn calories without going to the gym and hope it really helps you. 

Good belly swimming laugh – Laughter is not only the best medicine, it is the one of the most effortless ways to burn calories. Chuckling through a 15-minute stand-up comedy routine can burn between 10 and 40 calories. And this feel-good activity releases a feel-good hormone called serotonin that could reduce appetite.

Continue reading “10 ways to burn calories without going to the gym”

Story highlights

  • A lack of sleep can contribute to behavior issues and even health problems such as obesity
  • Many parents worry that media and technology interfere with bedtime routines and sleep

Parents know firsthand the impact a poor night’s sleep has on kids. Lack of sleep can contribute to crankiness, problems with attention and learning, behavior issues, and even health problems such as obesity. Though the reasons for poor sleep vary, many parents worry that media and technology interfere with bedtime routines and sleep.