If you’re a man, you have about a one-in-seven chance of developing prostate cancer at some point during your lifetime.
In the United States, for example, nearly three million American men are currently living with prostate cancer.
Although the condition is highly treatable, many men are suffering needlessly because they didn’t know the signs of cancer and catch it before it reached advanced stages.
Or they didn’t know the causes of prostate cancer and what to do to avoid it.
Knowing how to identify the early-onset signs and symptoms of prostate cancer is very important.
It could mean the difference between having to undergo invasive radiation treatment and surgery (and suffering through a laundry list of side effects in the process), or making simple dietary and lifestyle changes now to nip this cancer in the bud and stop it from growing and spreading.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells, and can spread to other areas of the body.
Similarly, prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.
Where is Your Prostate?
As mentioned, only men have a prostate. It is a walnut-sized gland located directly under the bladder in front of the rectum.
It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. The prostate gland can affect urine control, known as continence.
Early Symptoms of Prostate Cancer You Should Not Ignore
Prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms for many years. By the time symptoms occur, the disease may have spread beyond the prostate.
For starters, your urine can reveal four signs of prostate cancer.
Truth be told, prostate cancer is a relatively common occurrence among men in general.
But, only a very small percentage of men actually develop a clinically significant form of it. In other words, most prostate cancers remain perpetually latent and, for all intents and purposes, are completely harmless. Only a minute percentage of prostate cancers actually develop into a form that causes serious health problems.
To avoid this latter type, it’s important to educate yourself on the most common prostate symptoms associated with the development of prostate tumors. These include bladder and urinary problems that result in:
- Painful or difficult urination, and frequent urination, especially at night
- Loss of bladder control
- Reduced urinary flow or velocity
- Blood in the urine (a condition known as hematuria)
Many of these signs of prostate cancer develop slowly over time. However, if you notice that you’re suddenly having more difficulty releasing urine, or there’s a buildup of pressure in your bladder or urethral area, this could be an early warning sign that a prostate tumor is forming.
To recap, this are the general symptoms of prostate cancer:
- Urinary problems:
- Not being able to urinate.
- Having a hard time starting or stopping the urine flow.
- Needing to urinate often, especially at night.
- Weak flow of urine.
- Urine flow that starts and stops.
- Pain or burning during urination.
- Difficulty having an erection.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Frequent pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
These can be symptoms of cancer, but more often they are symptoms of noncancerous conditions. It is important to check with a doctor.
What other prostate conditions can cause symptoms like these?
As men get older, their prostate may grow bigger and block the flow of urine or interfere with sexual function. This common condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is not cancer, but can cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer.
Although BPH may not be a threat to life, it may require treatment with medicine or surgery to relieve symptoms. An infection or inflammation of the prostate, called prostatitis, may also cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer.
Again, it is important to check with a doctor.
Prostate Cancer Can Be Discovered Before Hand (Even Before Symptoms Start to Manifest)
Did you know that you can discover if you have it or not just by conducting tests?
Yes. That is why it is important to see the doctor once in awhile!
As a matter of fact, two tests can be used to detect prostate cancer in the absence of any symptoms. One is the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to look for hard or lumpy areas.
The other is a blood test used to detect a substance made by the prostate called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Together, these tests can detect many “silent” prostate cancers that have not caused symptoms.
Due to the widespread implementation of PSA testing in the United States, approximately 90 percent of all prostate cancers are currently diagnosed at an early stage, and, consequently, men are surviving longer after diagnosis.
Prostate cancer is common among men. While it’s a cancer, it is highly treatable. The difference between survival and fatality, however, lies in our lifestyle and our consciousness over our health. Early detection of prostate cancer is vital is we are to survive this kind of illness. Bottomline: See your doctor regularly and see what changes in your lifestyle you can make in order to maintain a healthy and long life.
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