Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland, which resides just under the bladder and forward of the rectum. It is estimated that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and it is considered the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. Abnormal prostate growth can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Unlike non-cancerous prostate growth, malignant growth can be lethal, invade nearby organs, and spread to other parts of the body. The growth can be removed, but it may grow back.
Unfortunately, in its early stages, prostate cancer often has no symptoms. When symptoms due present early on, they can be similar to that of an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Therefore, when you experience urinary symptoms, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate or BPH can include (which can also be early prostate cancer symptoms):
- The need to urinate often
- Feeling that the bladder is full, even right after urinating
- Feeling that urinating “can’t wait”
- Weak urine flow
- Dribbling of urine
- The need to stop and start urinating several times
- Trouble starting to urinate
- The need to push or strain to urinate
Later symptoms of prostate cancer can include:
- Dull pain in the lower pelvic area
- Frequent urinating
- Trouble urinating, pain, burning, or weak urine flow
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Bone pain
It is unknown why and how prostate cancer begins, but as men age, their risk of prostate cancer goes up. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chance of prostate cancer, but there are risk factors that can’t be avoided for some men. Black men are twice as likely to contract the disease than white and Asian men. Men with a family history of the cancer are also at higher risk.
For more information on prostate cancer, call Urological Associates in Colorado Springs at (719) 634-1994.