Prostate Cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 268,490 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. With such a high incidence, knowing what to look for and when to get screened can help you get diagnosed early – when treatment is easiest.
Here are 5 things that every man needs to know about prostate cancer.
1. There are common symptoms of prostate cancer
The prostate is a gland only found in men – it’s part of their reproductive tract and surrounds the urethra. When cancer develops in the prostate gland, various symptoms may be experienced.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:
- Blood in your urine
- Blood in your semen
- Difficulty urinating
- Needing to urinate frequently
- Having trouble starting or maintaining an erection
- Unintentional weight loss
While these are common symptoms, some may be signs of non-cancerous disorders, such as BPH, kidney stones, or a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Additionally, many men experience no symptoms at all when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer.
2. Preventative screening is important
Screening helps detect cancer even when symptoms may not be present. Two methods of screening include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. It’s recommended that all men over the age of 50 begin annual screening for prostate cancer.
Digital rectal exam: A digital rectal exam is performed during a physical exam. During a DRE, your healthcare provider feels the prostate gland with his or her finger; which is accessed via your rectum. Your healthcare provider feels the prostate gland for any abnormal consistency, such as irregular shape, and increased size which may indicate cancer.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): PSA is measured by drawing a sample of your blood and sending it to a laboratory to measure the level of prostate-specific antigen. Elevated PSA levels are often found in prostate cancer.
3. An elevated PSA level may be a sign of prostate cancer
It is important to note that a PSA level can also be elevated in other non-cancerous disorders; such as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). BPH occurs when the prostate gland enlarges and is common in men as they age. Other causes of elevated PSA levels include medications, irritation, and infections.
If you have an elevated PSA level, you may need further testing to identify the cause. This might include a biopsy of the prostate to check for cancer cells.
4. Treatment is often successful
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for prostate cancer. Treatment choice depends on many factors including the severity and location of the cancer. Some treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and hormone therapy.
While prostate cancer is a common type of cancer, it is usually treatable and men go on to live normal lives afterward.
5. A urologist is your expert partner
Early detection is key to achieving the best management and helping maintain a good quality of life. A urologist is a doctor who specializes in prostate issues – they are experts in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating prostate cancer. If you are a man over 50, having a trusted urologist as part of your healthcare team can help you ensure your urologic health is addressed.
If you have any urinary issues or are simply over the age of 50, don’t wait to see a urologist. Early detection means treatment is easier and more successful.
Don’t delay, call for an appointment today: 843-347-2450.