Detecting prostate cancer: 7 signs and symptoms
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men (after skin cancer) according to the National Cancer Institute. The term "prostate cancer" refers to any cancer that begins in your prostate. What is the prostate? It's a walnut-sized gland near the penis and bladder responsible for making seminal fluid.
As you age your risk of developing cancer in your prostate gland increases. That means it's a good idea to discuss the pros and cons of prostate screening with your doctor once you reach 50.
This type of cancer usually progresses very slowly and often with few signs or symptoms. The Prostate Cancer Foundation says many of the symptoms people associate with cancer could actually signal a benign disease like benign prostate hypertrophy or BPH for short. However some forms of aggressive prostate gland cancer grow quickly so let your doctor know if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms:
1. Weak or stop-and-start urine flow - If you are having trouble passing urine it could be a sign of an enlarged prostate a tumor or cancer.
2. Frequent need to urinate - It might be more than just an annoyance to find that you need to urinate more frequently especially at night.
3. Burning or pain when urinating - Several different conditions could cause pain or burning when you urinate including infections prostatitis or cancer.
4. Blood in the urine or semen -If you notice blood in your urine or semen call your doctor right away.
5. Pain in the hips or pelvis - There are many possible causes of pain in your hips or pelvis but if there isn't a clear cause like a recent injury it might suggest a prostate condition.
6. Painful ejaculation -Pain with ejaculation is a troublesome symptom you should discuss with your doctor or urologist.
7. Difficulty getting an erection -Erectile dysfunction is a common condition among older men and can be a sign of prostate problems or cancer.
If you are over 65 are African American or have other risk factors for prostate cancer it's a good idea to keep a close eye on any concerning symptoms. While something other than cancer could explain your symptoms it's better to find out so the condition can be treated if necessary. Fortunately most prostate cancers are manageable or treatable especially if caught early.
Prostate diseases like cancer are worrisome but you can be proactive by discussing concerns and screenings with your doctor understanding risk factors and taking steps to reduce your cancer risk.