Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers affecting Men today, yet, the general population knows little to nothing about it. How can this be?
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2022:
- About 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer
- About 34,500 deaths from prostate cancer
Luckily, when caught early enough prostate cancer is very treatable and oftentimes men can experience prostate cancer, get the appropriate treatment, and go on to live long happy lives.
If left untreated or unnoticed, prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body and give men a much bigger fight. How do we avoid this? It starts with awareness, both men and women alike should be aware of the risks, factors, signs, and symptoms of prostate cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The Prostate is a small gland about the size of a ping pong ball in the male body. It is found under the bladder around the urethra which carries urine from the bladder through the penis. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.
Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control or abnormally, creating cancer cells on the prostate.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men and in non-Hispanic Black men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older, and it is rare in men under 40. The average age of men at diagnosis is about 66. This means one of the greatest risk factors for developing prostate cancer is simply aging.
Another risk factor includes family history. Approximately 5-10% of prostate cancer cases are hereditary. That means if you’ve had a blood relative with prostate cancer, you have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer yourself. In fact, someone who has had a close relative with prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as someone with no family history.
Because of this, people with a history of prostate cancer in their family should be examined by 40.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Most prostate cancers are found early, through screening. Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. More advanced prostate cancers can sometimes cause symptoms, such as:
- Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord
Most of these problems are more likely to be caused by something other than prostate cancer. For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), non-cancerous growth of the prostate. Still, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms so that the cause can be found and treated if needed.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Other than being aware of your personal risk factors and being watchful of symptoms related to prostate cancer, getting prostate cancer screenings are incredibly effective in detecting cancer early.
Prostate cancer screening can include a PSA blood test, digital exam, or sometimes imaging. All of which are quick and painless.
At Urology Specialist of Ohio, we want to help and encourage you to stay on top of your prostate health. If you are concerned about symptoms you may be experiencing or want to know more about preventing or detecting prostate cancer, contact our prostate cancer center near Dayton, Ohio today.