Did you know prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men? It’s also the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men. The American Cancer Society predicts that in 2015, there will be 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer. One in seven men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime. About one in 28 men will die from prostate cancer. Protect yourself or the man you love by recognizing the warning signs, symptoms and everything else there is to know about prostate cancer!
The Warning Signs & Symptoms
In many cases, prostate cancer grows gradually. For example, the cancer can live in men for many years as a small tumor. This means prostate cancer does not tend to show signs or symptoms in the earliest stages. In certain cases, however, the cancer can be more aggressive, spreading rapidly and showing symptoms at an earlier stage.
Prostate cancer signs begin to appear as the cancer progresses. Symptoms caused by advanced prostate cancer can include:
- Weak urine flow
- Difficulty urinating
- Inability to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Blood in semen
- Consistent pain in the back, pelvis or hips
- Struggle to have an erection
Many of these symptoms can also be the cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is when the prostate gland is enlarged but not cancerous. No matter the case, it’s important to consult your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.
Risk Factors and Myths
Prostate cancer typically develops in men after the age of 50, with the majority of cases occurring in men older than 65. Only one in 10,000 men younger than 40 develop prostate cancer.
Studies have found that men who regularly smoke and consume a diet high in fat have an increased chance of developing prostate cancer. Also, men who undergo testosterone therapy have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer due to the increase of testosterone stimulating the growth of the prostate.
Other Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
- Family history. A man’s genetics can play a role in whether or not he develops prostate cancer. If a man’s brother or father has been diagnosed, he is twice as likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Race. African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than Caucasian men. African-American men are also two and a half times more likely to die from this disease.
- Where you live. This may seem strange, but men who live north of 40 degrees latitude have the highest risk of dying from prostate cancer in the United States. This is likely due to low vitamin D levels, which result from inadequate exposure to sunlight.
There may be things men have heard about prostate cancer that just aren’t true. One of those myths is about sexual activity. It has been rumored that a man who is highly sexually active and ejaculates frequently is at a greater risk for the development of prostate cancer. In reality, the opposite is true. Studies have found that more frequent ejaculations may lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Another common myth is that a vasectomy would increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer, but that has been proven to be false as well.
Get Yourself Checked
Your health shouldn’t be pushed aside just because you feel healthy. By getting an annual prostate exam, you could stop prostate cancer in its tracks. Don’t have a regular primary care provider to perform the exam? Find a doctor at one of the convenient UnityPoint Clinic locations and get checked for prostate cancer today!