About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the second most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approx 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer in 2023.
Prostate cancer grows slowly over many years. Many men do not notice the symptoms until they are too old to notice. However, recognizing the early signs of prostate cancer increases the chances of getting a good treatment.
What is prostate cancer?
All cancers are named after the part of the body where they originate. Prostate cancer it starts in the prostate, a gland found only in men that is important for reproduction. Prostate cancer starts when cells in this gland grow abnormally. Cancer uses male sex hormones called androgens as fuel to grow. Hormonal treatment it can block androgen action and treat prostate cancer.
Cancer cells grow slowly and may take years to become large enough to detect. It can take a long time to spread to other parts of the body. However, some cases of prostate cancer can be more serious and require immediate treatment.
Who is at risk for prostate cancer?
Although all men are at risk for prostate cancer, some groups have a higher risk than others. The risk increases significantly after the age of 50. About 6 out of 10 cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 65.
African American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than men of other races. They also tend to be younger when diagnosed with the disease and may die from the disease. Asian and Puerto Rican/Latino men have a lower risk of prostate cancer than white Hispanic men. It is not clear why this difference exists, but the difference in results is decreasing.
As with many diseases, family history also plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. It can run in some families, meaning that the genetic component can increase the risk. Men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer have a double risk of developing the disease. However, most cases of prostate cancer occur in men with no family history.
What are the early symptoms of prostate cancer?
Since prostate cancer develops slowly, many men do not realize that there is a problem in its early stages. However, there are five warning signs that you should not ignore:
- Pain or burning when you urinate or ejaculate
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
Some early symptoms of prostate cancer may include low urine output and discomfort or pain when sitting.
Be aware that not all men diagnosed with prostate cancer will have these symptoms. Similarly, these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. They may be associated with more serious conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is a common condition in which a man’s prostate becomes enlarged, sometimes doubling or tripling its original size. However, BPH does not mean you are at an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Prostatitis they also have symptoms similar to the symptoms of prostate cancer. Prostatitis is a painful disease in which the prostate becomes swollen and inflamed. It is a common cause of urinary tract infection in men, but it is not cancer. It is usually treated with antibiotics.
What are the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is known as advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. Advanced prostate cancer spreads to the bladder, rectum and bones. It can also spread to the liver, lungs, lymph nodes or other tissues of the body.
Symptoms of prostate cancer depend on where the cancer has spread. These symptoms may include swelling or weakness in the legs, back or hip pain, shortness of breath or a persistent cough. Cancer that has spread to the colon can also cause bowel movements, abdominal pain or constipation.
When should men be screened for prostate cancer?
Although there is no surefire way to do it, there are some ideas that can help. If you have other risk factors, such as age or race, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting tested earlier than men with no risk factors.
The US Preventive Services Task Force released the following prostate cancer guidelines in 2018:
- Men between the ages of 55 and 69 should decide when to get tested using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
- Men should discuss the benefits and risks of screening, testing and treatment with their doctor.
- Men who are 70 years of age or older should not get tested.
These tips apply to men who:
- Have a medium risk
- Have an increased risk
- Have no symptoms
- You have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer
What should you do if you think you have prostate cancer?
Talk to your doctor if you have the first symptoms of prostate cancer, especially if they come on suddenly. Your doctor will use a PSA blood test or a digital blood test to determine if there is anything wrong with your prostate. Depending on the results, your doctor may order a biopsy.
If you have prostate cancer, a biopsy can help determine the stage so your doctor can give you a treatment plan. Early detection is better and increases the chances of getting effective treatment, so don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with your doctor.