Do You Know the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
The sooner any cancer is detected the sooner the necessary treatment can begin, creating a greater chance of remedial affects and survival. A prostate cancer screening is the best way to determine if you have prostate cancer, or an enlarged prostate. Men over age 50 should be particularly aware of the threat of prostate cancer, so it is a good idea for all men to be vigilant and to be aware of their bodies. This is especially the case should the body change in some way, and if that occurs it is important to find out whether this may be a cause for concern.
Prostate cancer forms in the tissues of the prostate gland and tends to be slow growing; it can be some time before symptoms are noticeable. As men age, the prostate gland, which is part of the male reproductive system, will often enlarge, however, this in itself is not usually due to prostate cancer but to another condition known as prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Both non-cancerous or benign growths and cancerous or malignant ones produce similar symptoms. A simple blood test can identify if you should take a more aggressive path, such as a biopsy to rule out or verify the presence of cancer cells. Symptoms of prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate both include difficulty passing urine, or an urgent need to rush to the toilet. In some cases frequent urination at night becomes more frequent, whereas in other cases it becomes more difficult and may stop and start or just trickle out. Sometimes after urination the bladder may feel as if it is not completely empty. Pain during urination, or passing blood in semen or urine, is not usually a symptom of cancer, but of a non-cancerous prostate condition. A PSA test can determine if your condition is non-cancerous or whether further testing should be undertaken. When prostate cancer is in the early stages, there may be no indications at all. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer or any other type of cancer, should be more vigilant.
Although it is usually slow growing, on occasion prostate cancer can be aggressive, putting a man at high risk of death. This requires urgent treatment to help delay it or prevent it from spreading outside the prostate gland. Men aged over 50 years are at most risk, although prostate cancer can present at any age.
It makes sense to get any early signs of prostate problems checked by a healthcare practitioner, if only to rule out cancer. When prostate cancer has spread to other organs or the bones, this is known as secondary or metastatic prostate cancer and there may be soreness and pain in the groin, back, hips, pelvis and other areas of the body. Of course, bone pain has many causes, including arthritis or osteoporosis for example, however, it is better to have these checked out by a physician so the diagnosis is certain.
Older men may also find they have difficulty getting an erection, when this has not previously been a problem, and they may experience weight loss.
Analysis and Treatment
One of the first things a healthcare practitioner will do if a patient has one or more signs of prostate cancer is arrange a test to check levels of a protein known as a PSA Test (prostate specific antigen). If a doctor notices abnormalities during a rectal examination, and/or the levels of PSA in the blood are abnormally high, usually over 6 ng/dL of blood it is likely that a specialist prostate cancer consultancy will be arranged.
A prostate biopsy of prostatic tissue may be taken for lab analysis. Prostate cancer is very treatable and in some cases where a tumor is very slow growing, medical professionals advise that it should be kept under ‘active surveillance’ rather than treated with surgery or chemotherapy. Where prostate cancer treatment is undertaken for aggressive cancers, for example, this may take the form of various kinds of medication, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.
With early detection and treatment, prostate cancer is one of the most highly treatable forms of cancer, allowing men to regain all activities, including sex, and live out a happy and productive life.