Surely this is not your go to conversation starter nor a topic you enjoy discussing, we do not blame you. That said, it could be a conversation or information that could save yours or a loved one’s life.
Prostate cancer currently affects around two million men in the United States and is the most common cancer in men. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is a part of the reproductive system which is located in the rectum. This cancer is made up of abnormal cells that divide and create new cells, forming tumors on the prostate. These abnormal cells can spread to other parts of the body if not diagnosed and treated early.
Some common symptoms of prostate cancer include blood in the urine, weak or interrupted urine flow, inability to urinate, constant pain in the lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs, the need to urinate often especially at night, and a pain or burning feeling while urinating
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should discuss them with your doctor as soon as possible. If after your discussion with your doctor the decision is made to get screened there are two main screening tools that are used. The first is prostate specific antigen test (PSA) this test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. If you have a high PSA level it could mean you have an increased cancer risk. The second screening tool is the digital rectal examination (DRE). This tool checks for irregular or abnormal areas in the prostate through a rectal exam. Based on the results of your tests your doctor may recommend further testing to be done.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer there are multiple options available for you to consider. One of these options is watchful waiting, this is where you will watch your prostate cancer regularly and watch for symptoms or growth. A second option is getting surgery to remove the prostate. Other options include hormone therapy, cryotherapy, and radiation therapy. To make the best possible health decision discuss your options with your doctor.
To learn more, check out these resources:
- National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate
- American Cancer Institute: www.cancer.org/Cancer/ProstateCancer/index
- Centers for disease control and prevention: www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate