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"Flowers have an amazing ability to harmonise emotions."

Diana Mossop

Prostate Cancer

Information Regarding Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate.The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located just below the bladder the organ that collects and empties urine and in front of the rectum the lower part of the intestine.

It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra the tube that empties urine from the bladder. The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of the semen. 

Prostate cancer is found mainly in older men. As men age, the prostate may get bigger and block the urethra or bladder. This may cause difficulty in urination or can interfere with sexual function. The condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH, and although it is not cancer, surgery may be needed to correct it. 

The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia or of other problems in the prostate may be similar to symptoms for prostate cancer. Possible signs of prostate cancer include a weak flow of urine or frequent urination. These and other symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine. 
  • Frequent urination especially at night. 
  • Difficulty urinating. 
  • Pain or burning during urination. 
  • Blood in the urine or semen. 
  • Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis. 
  • Painful ejaculation. 

Tests that examine the prostate and blood are used to detect find and diagnose prostate cancer.

  • The following tests and procedures may be used:
  • Digital rectal exam DRE: An exam of the rectum. The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall for lumps or abnormal areas. 
  • Prostate-specific antigen PSA test: A test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer. PSA levels may also be high in men who have an infection or inflammation of the prostate or BPH an enlarged, but noncancerous, prostate. 
  • Transrectal ultrasound: A procedure in which an endoscope a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the rectum to check the prostate. The endoscope is used to bounce high-energy sound waves ultrasound off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. Transrectal ultrasound may be used during a biopsy procedure. 
  • Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist. The pathologist will examine the biopsy sample to check for cancer cells and determine the Gleason score. The Gleason score ranges from 2-10 and describes how likely it is that a tumor will spread. The lower the number, the less likely the tumor is to spread. 

There are 2 types of biopsy procedures used to diagnose prostate cancer:

  • Transrectal biopsy: The removal of tissue from the prostate by inserting a thin needle through the rectum and into the prostate. This procedure is usually done using transrectal ultrasound to help guide the needle. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. 
  • Transperineal biopsy: The removal of tissue from the prostate by inserting a thin needle through the skin between the scrotum and rectum and into the prostate. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

Certain factors affect prognosis chance of recovery and treatment options.The prognosis chance of recovery and treatment options depend on the following:

The stage of the cancer whether it affects part of the prostate, involves the whole prostate, or has spread to other places in the body. 

The patient's age and health.

Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred come back. 

Prognosis also depends on the Gleason score and the level of PSA.

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