Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Cancer of the prostate is the most common cancer among American men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung cancer. Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men in the United States.

Prostate cancer does not usually produce any noticeable symptoms in its early stages; so many cases of prostate cancer aren't detected until the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. For most men, prostate cancer is first detected during a routine screening such as a digital rectal exam or a blood test called prostate specific antigen test (PSA).

Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms:

Early signs and symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • Urinary problems such as frequent urination
  • Difficulty starting or stopping stream
  • Weak or interrupted flow
  • Blood in the urine

Having any of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer, but if you notice one or more of them for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors:

Knowing the risk factors for prostate cancer can help you determine when you want to begin prostate cancer screening. The main risk factors include:

  • Age - after age 50, your chance of having prostate cancer increases. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends a yearly screening test beginning at age 50.
  • Race - for reasons that are not clearly understood, African-American men are twice as likely as Caucasian men to develop prostate cancer.
  • Family history - a family history of prostate cancer may increase a man's risk of developing the disease, particularly if his father or brother were diagnosed with prostate cancer or if any relatives were younger than 60 at the time of diagnosis.

You can take actions to reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer by not smoking (or by stopping), exercising, eating a healthy diet, limiting high-fat or processed foods, and maintaining a healthy weight. You can't prevent prostate cancer, but the next best thing you can do to protect your health is to detect it early by getting regular check-ups with your physician.