All About Prostate Cancer

You may not like to think about your risk of getting cancer as you age, but prostate cancer is a reality. The American Cancer Society reports that nearly 1 out of 7 men will develop prostate cancer. It is rarely seen before 40, but in men over 65, it happens in 6 out of 10 men screened for cancer. The good news is that with early detection and treatment, you can be cured completely. But if you ignore the signs and fail to get a regular screening, the prognosis can be poor.

Your Prostate and Cancer

Prostate cancer is slow growing and may show no symptoms until it has become severe. The cancer may show up in the screening without you having any symptoms. This is why a screening with your urologist is so important to do on a regular basis. If you develop prostate cancer and it is allowed to grow, it can spread to bones, lungs, and lymph nodes. Once the cancer attacks your other organs, it can be difficult to reverse.

A Serious Disease with No Known Cause

Doctors don't know what causes prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it does appear to affect older men more often and a family history of it can increase your risk. Diet may be a factor, with high amounts of fatty red meat increasing the risk for some men. With few specific indicators for prostate cancer, a screening is the reliable way to detect it.

When Symptoms Do Appear

The symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • difficulty starting and stopping urination
  • frequent urination of small amounts
  • leaking urine when you cough or laugh
  • burning feeling when you urinate
  • blood in your urine

Testing for Prostate Cancer

There are two tests your doctor can use to detect changes in your prostate:

  • Manual examination - Your urologist inserts a finger into your rectum and feels the prostate for signs of inflammation.
  • Blood test - Your doctor will look for a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.

Both of these tests are normally done together because neither is definitive by itself. A biopsy of prostate tissue may be needed to confirm the presence of cancer.

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Different treatment options are available and their effectiveness depends on how advanced your prostate cancer is:

  • surgery to remove part or all of the prostate gland
  • radiation therapy or chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells
  • hormone therapy to reduce the amount of male hormones which encourages the cancer cell growth

Early detection of prostate cancer through screening gives you the best chance of beating this disease. Don't ignore any of the symptoms and ask your doctor about your risk of this cancer when you see them for a check up.