Prostate Cancer

As the number 2 cause of cancer fatalities among men in the United States, prostate cancer can pose a large threat if untreated, untested and hidden. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs, risks and prevention methods of prostate cancer. Part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is a small gland at the front of the rectum that assists in semen production.

While exact causes and factors for prostate cancer are unknown, the following put people more at risk for this disease:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Region
  • Ethnic background - African Americans have double the risk
  • Family history
  • Dietary
  • Vitamins

Symptoms

Prostate cancer’s symptoms are often difficult to spot at its earliest stages, but the following might be present once symptoms do begin to show:

  • dull pain in the lower pelvic area
  • frequent urination
  • problems with urination such as the inability, pain, burning, weakened urine flow
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • painful ejaculation
  • general pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
  • loss of appetite and/or weight
  • persistent bone pain

Testing

The most common methods of detecting prostate cancer are a digital rectal examination and prostate specific antigen.

  • DRE - The DRE is performed by a physician, with the patient bending over or lying on his side, with his knees pulled up to his chest. The physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine for any abnormalities in size, shape or contour.
  • PSA - This test analyzes the level of PSA, a substance produced only by the prostate, present in the blood.

If you are concerned about prostate cancer, please consult with your physician to talk about detection. To learn more, visit Urology Care Foundation.