Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men. It usually begins on the outer part of the prostate and grows very slowly. Because of this, it can be difficult to diagnose if the patient isn’t experiencing any symptoms. While prostate cancer is very common, most people don’t know a lot about it. This lack of knowledge can lead to delayed diagnosis and missed symptoms. To help men protect themselves from this silent and deadly disease, this article is going to provide a brief overview of the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer.
Unfortunately, prostate cancer symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer has progressed. Because of this, early stages of prostate cancer are detected with tests or exams before symptoms begin to show. This is why it’s so important to regularly see a doctor and receive preventative healthcare services. But when symptoms do start to show, they may include things like:
- Difficulty urinating
- More frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Weak or irregular flow of urine
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. However, it is important to remember that these symptoms can have many causes besides prostate cancer.
There are two main ways to test for the presence of prostate cancer. These include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA). Both of these screening methods check for any abnormalities with the prostate, including checking the amount of protein made by the prostate, which is elevated when cancer is present. After these exams, a pathology report will summarize the results to be reviewed by the healthcare provider.
Because more than 80% of prostate cancer diagnoses are made in men over the age of 65, regular screenings for younger men are not required. However, men at risk for prostate cancer should start discussing screening options with their healthcare provider at the age of 50. Furthermore, men with family members who had prostate cancer should start talking about screening at a younger age.
Like most cancers, there are many options when it comes to prostate cancer care. Options for treatment should be thoroughly considered and discussed with not only a primary care physician but a prostate cancer specialist as well. In doing this, patients will be able to determine the best treatment option for their condition. Some of the most common methods for prostate cancer care include:
- Surgery to remove the entire prostate and the cancerous cells
- Radiation treatment to remove the cancerous cells or relieve symptoms
- Hormonal deprivation therapy or chemotherapy
Depending on the chosen method of treatment, the patient will start visiting a cancer center or chemotherapy facility to begin treatment.
Because symptoms don’t normally show in the early stages, it’s important for men to begin getting screened for prostate cancer as soon as recommended by their doctor. In doing this, there is a better chance of having successful diagnosis and prostate cancer care.