7 Symptoms of Advanced Prostate Cancer and How to Manage Them

The prostate gland found in men is a small gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes sperm. The prostate is a part of the reproductive system, located below the bladder in front of the rectum. Cancer cells grow wildly and later spread to other body parts. Globally, prostate cancer is the second most common but can be treated successfully in the early stages. Also called prostatic carcinoma, prostate cancer may require intensive treatments like radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery can be done to remove the prostate gland if needed. In most cases that are detected early, a complete prostate cancer cure is possible.


Advanced Prostate Cancer

Advanced Prostate Cancer is used in Stage 4 when cancer has spread outside the prostate. Bones, lymph nodes, liver, and lungs may be attacked by cancer cells. Stage 4 prostate cancer may not have a cure but treatments extend life. Imaging tests like MRI, CT, PET, and bone scans help understand the extent of the tumor. In a biopsy, sample cells are lab tested. Hormone therapy prevents testosterone production. Removing testicles through surgery also halts testosterone production quickly. Anti-androgen medications prevent testosterone from reaching the cancer cells.

Common symptoms of Advanced Prostate Cancer

A cancer diagnosis seems to end the world and stage 4 is the most terrible. Consider the devastating effects on the mind and body. Studying the Emotional, Physical, Social, and Practical impact may help understand the far-reaching consequences and find ways to manage them better.

Pain and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, loss of libido, and erectile dysfunction are some usual effects. Loss of appetite, cognitive impairment, and emotional stress accompany such medical conditions. Bone pain, frequent infections, and swollen legs are further symptoms.

Challenges of managing symptoms

1. Pain and fatigue

Hips and back, chest and bones ache frequently, and coping can be like fighting a battle. Several medications treat and ease pain, according to severity levels. Oral medications, intravenous pain relievers, and skin patches have similar effects. Radiation therapy also helps relieve pain. Yoga and acupuncture are alternative therapies that work too. Hypnosis and massage also help.

A pain specialist can help by suggesting ways to find relief. Pain levels keep changing during the treatment process. Find the most effective solutions according to specific needs.

2. Missing appetite

Suffering from pain and fatigue often results in a loss of appetite. The taste/smell changes make the patient lose interest in food. Certain medications develop the appetite. Light exercise a while before food stimulates the appetite. Liquid food supplements are useful. Fresh fruit juices and sports drinks along with other liquids become handy substitutes.

Along with tea and milk, soups may be taken. Spice additions make for tastier food with garlic, rosemary, and other spices. Fish, cheese, and beans deliver large doses of protein. Ice cream and cream-based soups are easy to consume and contain high calories. Eating small meals several times a day is a good strategy.

3. Emotional bankruptcy

Anxiety and depression are common, but treatment options are certainly available. Avoid delay in getting help. Worrying all the time, terrible thoughts, and fidgeting are some symptoms. Sweating, racing heartbeat, fears, and tension are signs of severe anxiety. Getting short-tempered, eating little, and sleeping pattern changes are all indications.

Medications for anxiety and depression should be taken before the symptoms get vehement. The doctor may recommend therapeutic activities.

4. Intellectual weakening

Confusion could result from the medications or cancer. Concentration becomes difficult. Rapidly changing emotions like changing from calmness to anger are indicative. If dementia existed before cancer, it requires close attention. Brain exercises help along with appropriate medications. Crossword puzzles do a lot of good.

5. Urinary difficulties

Cancer might spread to the urethra and bladder. Kidney problems, incontinence, and bloody urine are possibilities. Treatments like radiotherapy, surgery, infections, or an enlarged prostate could cause such problems. Talk it over. A range of remedies is available.

If urinating is a problem, the bladder may not empty fully. Alpha-blockers make urinating easier. A tube called a catheter is used to drain urine from the body. If urinating completely stops, it needs emergency treatment. Leaking urine requires absorbent pads. Pelvic floor muscle exercises help and medicines called anticholinergics.

If cancer blocks urine-carrying tubes from the kidneys to the bladder, kidney problems may result. If severe, waste products accumulate in the blood. Exhaustion, weak appetite, and swollen feet could result. A blood test checks the kidneys. If necessary, a tube drains urine into an external bag. Alternatively, a stent may be inserted in the ureter to facilitate urine flow.

6. Fractured bones

Prostate cancer could often spread to bones, weakening them. Certain hormone therapies have similar actions. Osteoporosis is an extreme form of bone thinning with a great danger of fractures. Work and movement become restricted due to pain or the fear of damaging bones. Radiotherapy administered to reduce cancer growth helps bones and controls the pain. Bisphosphonates are medications that strengthen bones and prevent breakages. These drugs also manage cancer pain. A badly damaged bone area requires surgery. Inserting a metal pin or plate in the bone strengthens the bone. A cement type may also be used.

Though mobility gets restricted, some activity is necessary for maintaining the physique and sustaining strength. Walking is the easiest exercise but be careful and guard against falling.

7. Blocked lymphatic system

Known as lymphoedema, it occurs if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system carries lymph around the body as part of the physical immune system. If blocked, the result is a swelling called lymphoedema. The blockage can also result from treatments like radiotherapy, surgery, and cancer. Usually affecting the legs, the swelling could arise in any other body area. Such phenomena could occur very long after the treatments. The symptoms may be swelling, pain, infection, and redness with sore skin.

Everyday life is hampered by restricted movement and daily tasks seem a burden. Cleansing, massaging, and mild exercise along with controlled body weight help to manage the symptoms

Doctors, hospitals, the family, and social media form a strong support system. Along with the physical, emotional support is crucial too. The situation may be daunting but all is not lost. Speak up and express early whatever symptoms or needs may arise. The sooner is better for sure.