Detecting prostate cancer early in its development gives men the best chance for successful treatment and remission.
Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some types can grow and spread quickly. It is important to be aware of both the early warning signs of prostate cancer as well as general risk factors.
That said, many men with prostate cancer do not experience any symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease.One study showed that the mortality rate of people with prostate cancer is 15% in the first 15 years, then 44% in the succeeding years.
Due to this grave acceleration of this disease later on in life, regular cancer screenings are vital for men over the age of 50 (or 40 if there is a family history of prostate cancer).
Regardless of the indolent nature of this disease in its early years, it’s possible to detect signs of prostate cancer. Let’s learn about the potential signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, as well as which risk factors increase your chances of developing this disease.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Risk factors of developing prostate cancer can be either inherited or acquired. While simply being predisposed or carrying certain genes does not guarantee that you will develop cancer, it does increase your odds.
On the other hand, acquired risk factors are activities or choices that you make that can increase your chance of developing cancer. These include smoking cigarettes, eating an unhealthy diet, and not exercising regularly.
Medical experts have compiled several risk factors associated with prostate gland cancer.
Some of the most common include the following.
- Age: The median age of people who first get diagnosed with prostate cancer is 66 years old. In addition, the majority of people diagnosed with this form of cancer fall under the age group of 65 to 74 years old.
- Race: People of African descent are more likely to develop prostate cancer than people of other races. Asian men and Caucasian men have the lowest rates of developing this form of cancer.
- Family History: If your father or brother has had prostate cancer, you are twice as likely to develop it as well.
- Obesity: There is a significant correlation between being overweight or obese and developing aggressive prostate cancer.
- Genetic Variations: Men with BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are more likely to develop prostate cancer as well.
If you have any of these risk factors, it does not mean that you will develop prostate cancer. However, you should speak with your doctor about getting screened to avoid it later in life.
Prostate Cancer Warning Signs and Symptoms
About 85% of prostate cancers are detected in men during their early, asymptomatic stages. These can be revealed in elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or abnormalities in a rectal exam.
That said, the longer you let prostate cancer run its course untreated, the harder it will become to treat and the more life-threatening it will become. This is why many doctors strongly urge men, especially those older than 50, to get examined annually to check for any abnormalities in their prostate.
If you experience any of the following prostate cancer symptoms, consult with a medical professional right away.
1. Urinary Symptoms
Once the tumor in the prostate has grown large enough to press against the urethra, men may experience a variety of symptoms.
If you have prostate cancer, you may experience urinary symptoms such as:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- A slow urinary stream
- Straining to urinate
- Blood in semen
- Inability to fully empty the bladder
- Painful urination
- Blood in urine
In some cases, these symptoms can also be indicative of benign prostate enlargement, which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. However, if you experience any of these urinary symptoms, it’s best to consult with your doctor to be safe.
2. Erectile Difficulties
Erectile dysfunction, or the inability to maintain an erection, can be another sign of prostate cancer.
Radical prostatectomy, a treatment for prostate cancer, can also cause unwanted side effects such as neurovascular bundle injury that lead to erectile dysfunction.
Thankfully, medical advancement has given rise to several treatments for prostate cancer-induced erectile difficulties. These include phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, penile injections, and shockwave therapy.
3. Pain in Surrounding Bones Near Prostate
A telltale symptom of advanced prostate cancer is a pain in the lower back, spine, hips, or pelvis.
This is caused by the spread of cancer to the bones and lymph nodes. Metastatic cancer in the bones can cause pain and swelling in the affected regions in the body.
If you experience any sudden or persistent pain in your lower back, spine, hips, or pelvis, consult with your doctor for urgent treatment.
Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Thanks to medical advancements in screening and treatment, the 10-year survival rate of prostate cancer in the USA has reached 98%.
A person’s treatment plan will depend on the stage of their cancer, as well as their age and overall health.
Here are various treatment plans that a medical practitioner may prescribe their patients with prostate cancer:
- Active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy
A urologist, radiation oncologist, or medical oncologist may be able to provide more insight on the best course of action for you.
Prevention of Prostate Cancer
Unfortunately, as with most cancers, there is no foolproof way to prevent prostate cancer. However, there are certain measures you can take to lower your risk factors.
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Limiting your alcohol intake
Contact Jacksonville’s Top Medical Clinic for Men’s Health Issues
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer found in men. While it’s a serious condition, prostate cancer is also highly treatable, especially when detected early.
If you experience any urinary symptoms, erectile difficulties, or pain in the lower back, spine, hips, or pelvis, consult with your doctor right away.
The medical professionals at Jacksonville’s Prime Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.