What is Prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer just like every other kind of cancer occurs when the cells found in the prostate gland begin to grow out of control. The prostate is usually found in males. Women do not have prostate glands but have something similar which is referred to as “skene’s glands” or “skene’s duct” found on either side of the lower end of the urethra and are responsible for providing lubricant to the vagina during sex and preventing it from infection. It is also considered the source of female ejaculation during sexual activity. It also has the two enzymes medical practitioners use in assessing the condition of the prostate in men which are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and PSA phosphatase (PSAP). For this reason, some refer to this as the female prostate gland. Skene’s glands are named after Alexander Johnston Chalmers Skene, a physician who studied Skene’s glands in the late nineteenth century. Other names include Skene’s ducts, vestibular glands, paraurethral glands, and periurethral glands.
Can women get prostate cancer?
The condition Skene’s gland cancer which is sometimes referred to as female prostate cancer occurs in the Skene’s gland. Unlike male prostate cancer which is said to occur in 1 out of 8 males, female prostate cancer is rare and found in less than 0.003 percent of all genital cancers in women. This type of cancer is known as adenocarcinoma of Skene’s gland and usually occurs only in elderly women. Some of the general risk factors for the development of Skene’s gland cancers include infection by human papillomavirus (HPV), certain hormonal medications, and smoking.
It is rare to develop a problem in the Skene’s gland but there are conditions that could affect the urethra which can have an adverse effect on the Skene’s gland. These conditions include infections, Skene’s duct cysts, Trichomoniasis, and Skenitis. Skenitis is the most common disorder which is often times confused with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Gonorrhea is the most common cause of Skenitis but can also be caused by UTI. Some of the symptoms of Skenitis include:
- Swollen and sore Skene’s gland
- Pain during urination
- Pain during sex
- Frequent Urination
- Vaginal pain
Skenitis can be treated with antibiotics but in extreme cases, surgery may be required. An untreated Skenitis may develop into a malignant cyst in the ducts, these cysts block the opening of the urethra and causes urine retention which will later be diagnosed as Skene’s Cancer.
When to see a doctor
Suspected symptoms of having skene’s cancer? You should definitely see a doctor when you noticed any of these symptoms especially if they reoccur. An early diagnosis can help to improve the outcome of most conditions. Some of the symptoms include:
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine or passing from the urethra
- Pressure behind the pubic bone
- Frequent urination
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Pain during sex
- Difficulty urinating
- Cloudy foul smell in urine
- Urinary retention
- Abnormal vaginal discharge.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Risk factors of Skene’s gland cancer
Skene Gland cancer is a rare condition that generally affects women over the age of 40 years and all racial and ethnic groups are at risk.
Some of the risk factors include:
- Persons with a history of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- History of the mother taking synthetic oestrogen hormones during pregnancy (can affect adult children)
- Irregular Pap smear testing
- Pregnancy earlier than age 17
- Women who have multiple pregnancies
- Weak immune as a result of diseases such as AIDS or due to immune-suppressing drugs.
- Women who have multiple pregnancies.
Skene’s gland carcinoma is extremely rare, with only a few cases being reported. Imaging tests such as MRI may be carried out. Other tests like blood tests, scans, and also physical examinations due to its ability to spread to other areas and possible recurrence. It can help diagnose the cancerous cysts in Skene’s gland. This type of cyst found in the Skene’s gland contains a milk-like fluid.
A doctor usually treats this cancer with radiation therapy if detected early but when detected late the chances of removal through surgical means are high. Removal of this cyst may also be required if cancer has spread through the surrounding areas of the urethra and bladder.
There are no specific ways to prevent Skene’s gland cancer but a regular medical checkup at periodic intervals could suffice. It is also important to always have a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are known to have antioxidants which can greatly have an impact on overall well being.