As well we know prostate cancer is likely to occur in elderly men, though it also can occur at young ages. Since it is one of common cancers affecting men, we have a lot of questions associated with the early signs and symptoms of the disease. How common is it? How do you know if you have the disease? What else,… keep reading!
While some types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can be potentially life-threatening, others are relatively slower to progress and prostate cancer is in this category!
However cancer is cancer – whatever the type of them, it’s crucial to catch and diagnose it as earlier as possible. Because any cancer at early stage is easier to treat than when it has become advanced! So if you in doubt to your condition or any symptom that you have, see a doctor promptly to get a clearly diagnosis and more advice!
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Prostate, lung and colorectal cancer are top common cancers among men – according to CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And for prostate cancer, it is the second common cause of death among men after lung cancer.
In 2008, it affected about 214,633 men and caused about 28,147 of death in the U.S. Fortunately, today the number of prostate cancer cases is decreasing, both for the number of patients diagnosed with the disease and the number of death due to the disease.
Age is one of the main risk factors – in other words, your risk increase as you age. Below is the table to describe the risk by age (table credit to the National Cancer Institute – based on the statistics from 2005 to 2007):
The table above explains that the risk increases with the age. For instance, go to 50 of the current age. You will see that about 2.30 percent of men who are now 50 years of age will get the disease during the next 10 years. This means about 2 out of every 100 men who are 50 years old today will have the disease by the age of 60.
Additionally, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation — about 35 percent of all cases affect men at the age before their 65s – while the rest of the data (about 65 percent) affect men at the age of 65 or older.
There are a lot of myths associated with prostate cancer. Tobacco & alcohol, masturbation, vasectomy, infertility problem, or BPH (a noncancerous condition associated with enlarged gland of prostate) may factor into prostate cancer. But in fact, there is still no scientific evidence to confirm these issues.
Even the exact cause of prostate cancer is still not known. In case-by-case basis, doctors often don’t know the exact cause of this disease. But experts have confirmed that there are some risk factors of the disease, see more in this section!
There is also misperception that the disease can be passed to others. In fact, this disease is not communicable /infectious.
One of choices to diagnose prostate cancer is with PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. As the name implies, doctors use this kind of test to measure the level of prostate-specific antigen. The elevated level of this antigen is sometimes associated with the existence of abnormal cells in the prostate.
However, if the test shows elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen, this doesn’t mean that you definitely have cancer of prostate. In other words, PSA test is only one of the first steps to diagnose the disease. Other further tests are often required for accurate diagnosis. In fact, there are also some men with prostate cancer but they have low levels of prostate-specific antigen.
Unfortunately, the disease typically doesn’t cause any sign /symptom at early stage. This is one of major reasons of why there still many patients diagnosed with the disease at later stages.
As the cancer progresses, this may cause some of the following signs and symptoms [reference]:
- Problems associated with urination such as frequent urination (typically at night), problems in controlling the stream of urine, or a weak force in the stream of urine. Sometimes when coughing /laughing you may also have an uncontrolled leak of urine. The cancer may also cause blood in the urine.
- When you ejaculate or pee, you may feel burning /painful sensation.
- Sometimes blood also could be found in the semen.
Many patients complain about these symptoms before going to see their doctor for the first time in diagnosing the existence of their prostate cancer.
The cancer is not the single answer for the cause of these symptoms. There are a number different health conditions that can cause some of these symptoms.
So, having one /some of them doesn’t mean that you definitely have prostate cancer, see a doctor for more guidance!
Furthermore these symptoms are not signs of the cancer itself. They also can be caused by the blockage from the growth of tumor within the prostate & surrounding tissues.
In line with the progress of the disease (at advanced stage of the disease), then you may also have some of the following symptoms:
- If the cancer has spread to the bones, you are at high risk of having broken bones and pain. Pain in the bones is pretty common to occur in the pelvic area.
- Dull, stiffness, or even incessant deep pain in the certain areas of the body such as in the upper thighs, lower back, pelvis, and ribs.
- Nausea & vomiting followed with lack /loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.
- Easier to feel tired, fatigue.
- Weakness and even paralysis that affect the lower limbs – this may be followed with constipation!
The diagnosis of the disease is not enough by analyzing the symptoms that occur.