Conditions

Telltale Signs You Have Prostate Cancer

The prostate gland is a walnut-shaped gland that is responsible for the production of seminal fluid (semen), which transports and nourishes your sperm, making it essential in sexual reproduction for males. It is located below the bladder and near the urethra, the tube that carries away the urine and semen out of your body. As you get older, your prostate grows larger. An extremely large one can eventually pose problems especially if you are aged 50 and above. The older you are, the more likely you will be affected by an enlarged prostate and the more likely you will get prostate cancer.

Every year, about 181,000 American males get diagnosed with prostate cancer, which, while common, has a survival rate of 86 percent. In fact, it has been estimated that 46 percent of all American men aged 50 to 59 years old have prostate cancer, with the rate increasing as they age. 

Causes, Risk Factors And Symptoms

Although there are no clear causes of prostate cancer, doctors do know that it begins when some of your prostate's cells become abnormal. The mutations in these abnormal cells' DNA cause them to grow and divide faster than normal cells do. These cells then continue living as opposed to normally dying like the other cells, and then accumulate to form a tumor that can grow to invade the nearest tissues, with some breaking off and spreading (metastasize) to other parts of the body. 

Aside from old age, risk of prostate cancer is exacerbated by the following factors: 

  • Race - For reasons yet to be determined, black men are more likely to get prostate cancer (aggressive or advanced) compared to men of other races.
  • Family History / Genetics - If men in your family used to have prostate cancer, your risk increases, as does having a family history of breast cancer or at least possessing genes that trigger it (BRCA1 or BRCA2).
  • Obesity - Prostate cancer and obesity are a potentially dangerous pair, resulting in a more advanced (and difficult-to-treat) disease.

One of the most common forms of cancer in men, prostate cancer usually grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not pose serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly, thereby needing only minimal or no treatment, others are aggressive and able to spread quickly. If detected early, especially if the cancer is still confined to the prostate, successful treatment is guaranteed. The telltale signs of you having prostate cancer include:

  • a feeling of burning sensation or pain while urinating
  • blood in urine or semen
  • urge to urinate frequently esepcially at night
  • feeling pain or discomfort while sitting 
  • erectile dysfunction
  • difficulty urinating or having a weak urine stream

Treatment 

Many prostate cancer treatments such as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test tend to have irreversible side effects, including impotence and incontinence. However, there is at least one safer, less invasive way of treating it: dietary changes. One study found that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is beneficial in preventing and treating the cancer.

Prostate Cancer Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be scary, but knowing what route to go next can make it easier. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

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