Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, after skin cancer. According
to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer will be diagnosed in about one out of every seven men. Although prostate cancer can be a serious disease, it can often be treated successfully if it is detected early. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in preventing the spread of prostate cancer and improving survival rates.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
When cells in the prostate gland begin to grow out of control, prostate cancer develops. The prostate gland is only found in men. It produces some of the fluid found in sperm. The prostate is located beneath the bladder (a hollow organ that stores urine) and in front of the rectum. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of prostate cancer. (American Cancer Society)
Prostate cancer in its early stages frequently has no symptoms. Prostate tumors that are more advanced might cause symptoms such as a sluggish or weak urinary stream or the urge to urinate more frequently, particularly at night; urine with blood or sperm with blood; having difficulty obtaining an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED); cancer that has gone to the bones can cause pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other regions; and cancer pressing on the spinal cord can cause weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, as well as loss of bladder or bowel control. (American Cancer Society)
Screening for Prostate Cancer
Cancer screening entails having tests performed to look for indicators of cancer before any symptoms appear. A screening test may aid in the early detection of cancer when it is more treatable. Cancer screening simply tells you if you have cancer or not. It does not make a cancer diagnosis.
Prostate cancer is usually detected using two tests. A PSA blood test, or prostate-specific antigen test, is a blood test that detects the presence of prostate-specific antigen. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. A high PSA level in your blood may indicate that you have prostate cancer, but it is not proof. A rectal examination using digital technology (DRE), is a common prostate examination method. Your healthcare practitioner does a physical rectum exam to feel for lumps or anything unusual. Only one side of the prostate can be examined using a DRE. (Medline Plus)
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Prostate cancer is a disease that affects most males. Approximately 80% of men over the age of 80 have cancer cells in their prostate. Other factors, other than being male, contribute to the risk.
- Age: Age is the factor that has the greatest impact on your chances of developing prostate cancer. Men aged 65 and older account for around two-thirds of all prostate cancer cases. However, as you get older, the disease becomes less aggressive, especially around the age of 70. (WebMD)
- Genetic History: Men with a family history of prostate cancer are thought to be at a higher risk. Prostate cancer is more than twice as likely if you have a father or sibling who has it. When numerous family members are impacted, your chances increase even more. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer should begin screening at the age of 40. (WebMD)
- Diet: High dietary fat may also be connected to prostate cancer, according to research. When compared to countries where the fundamental diet consists of rice, soybean products, and vegetables, the disease is far more common in places where meat and dairy products make up a large part of the diet. (WebMD)
- BRCA1 or BRCA2 Gene Changes: These mutations are something you’re born with, so they’re risk factors you can’t change. They run in families, but only a tiny percentage of people are affected. In women, they increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and in some males, they increase the risk of prostate cancer. (WebMD)
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so that the cause can be determined. Prostate cancer is just one possible explanation for these symptoms. However, if prostate cancer is the cause, early detection is critical. With prostate cancer, the earlier it’s caught, the better the chances are for successful treatment. If you’re over 50, talk to your doctor about getting a prostate exam.
“What Is Prostate Cancer?” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/what-is-prostate-cancer.html.
“Prostate Cancer Screening | PSA Test .” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/prostatecancerscreening.html.
“Prostate Cancer Risk Factors and Prevalence.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/guide/prostate-cancer-risk-factors.