As well we know prostate cancer is more likely to occur in elderly men, but however it also can occur at any age. Since it is one of common cancers that affect men, there are a lot of questions associated with the early symptoms and signs of the disease. How common is it? How do you know if you have the disease? What else you need to know?
While some types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can be potentially life-threatening, others are relatively slower to progress or even grow very slowly which may only require minimal treatment or even no treatment.
However cancer is cancer – whatever the type of them, it’s crucial to catch and diagnose the existence of any abnormal cell as earlier as possible. Because any cancer at early stage is commonly much easier to treat than when it at advanced stage! So if you in doubt to your condition or any symptom that you have, see your GP /doctor promptly to get a clearly diagnosis and more advice!
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 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 major risk factors – in other words, your risk increase as you age. Below is a helpful 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 is commonly increasing in line with the age of a man. 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 Found — about 35 percent of cases affect men with the age before 65s – while the most of cases (about 65 percent) affect men who are older than 65 years old.
There are a lot of myths associated with prostate cancer. You may ever hear that the use of tobacco & alcohol, masturbation, vasectomy, infertility problem, or BPH (a noncancerous condition associated with enlarged gland of prostate) can increase the chance of developing prostate cancer. But in fact, there is still no scientifically evidence to confirm these issues.
Even the exact cause of prostate cancer is also 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. Read more about factors or conditions that may contribute in causing increased risk of prostate cancer in this section!
There is also misperception that the disease can be passed to others. Some people worry that they can get the same condition if they are too close with a patient with prostate cancer. But in fact, this disease is not communicable /infectious. So you should not worry about this issue, because there is no way for the disease to spread to others.
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 sometime associated with the existence of abnormal cells in the prostate.
However, if the test shows that there are 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 before doctor make a clearly diagnosis. In fact, there are also some men with prostate cancer but they have low levels of prostate-specific antigen.
How about with the symptoms? Are there any early signs of the disease or can you notice any symptom earlier before the disease get worse (at advanced stages)? The next page will tell you more about these issues!
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 who diagnosed with the disease at later stages – though the number of patients diagnosed at later stages decreases.
But once there is a significantly swelling of prostate gland due to the growth of a malignant tumor, or once the cells of cancer have spread to outside prostate, you may experience one /some of the following symptoms:
- Problems associated with urination! This may include frequent urination (typically at night), problems in controlling the stream of urine, a weak force in the stream of urine, when coughing /laughing you may also have an uncontrolled leak of urine, and even you may also notice blood that is found in the urine.
- Depending on the severity of the disease, you may also lose your ability to urinate standing up.
- When you ejaculate or pee, you may feel burning /painful sensation.
- And sometime blood also can be found in the semen.
Though generally these symptoms are not early signs of when the disease is still at early stage, but 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 also some different health conditions that can generate and cause some of these symptoms. So, having one /some of them doesn’t mean that you definitely have cancer of prostate, but you need to see a doctor promptly for a clearly diagnosis!
Furthermore these symptoms are not signs of the cancer itself, in other words 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, particularly such as in the upper thighs, lower back, pelvis, and ribs.
- Nausea & vomiting that often followed with lack /loss of appetite that eventually can cause a significant weight loss.
- Patient is then also easier to feel fatigue.
- Some swellings that occur in the lower extremities. Swelling also can occur in the legs.
- Weakness and even paralysis that affect the lower limbs – this also often followed with constipation!
The diagnosis of the disease is not enough by analyzing the symptoms that occur. In other words, doctors need to perform several tests (such as PSA test, digital rectal exam test, some imaging tests, and biopsy procedure) before making a clearly diagnosis.