Prostate Cancer Early Detection

September is National Prostate Cancer Month, this offers the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, to remind  men everywhere that prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in men, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, right after lung cancer.

An increasing challenge with prostate cancer is that it may not always immediately present with symptoms. By the time a man realizes he has prostate cancer, treatment options become far more limited. This reality makes it urgent for men to take their health seriously and get screened. Screenings follow guidelines, which are followed even when symptoms do not present, leading to more early detections. Due to effective screening options for prostate cancer, the disease is often caught before it spreads, and, survival rates have improved for prostate cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. These are cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids. Again, this means prostate cancer often has no early symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have a weaker flow of urine, but these symptoms can also be caused by benign prostate conditions. This further underscores the benefits of screenings.

The NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates that more than 248,530 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 34,130 men will die of the disease in 2021. Unfortunately, many who die from the disease did not find the disease early enough through screenings.

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra, which is the tube that empties urine from the bladder. The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of semen.

Prostate cancer is more common in older men. It is more likely to occur in men with a family history of prostate cancer and in men of African American descent. Other risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. In the United States, about 11%of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetimes.

What Are Prostate Cancer Symptoms?

Many prostate cancer symptoms are very similar to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP), prostatitis, erectile dysfunction, or overactive bladder. These include:

  • Strong urge to urinate immediately
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Pain and/or burning when urinating or ejaculating
  • Difficulty starting the urinary stream
  • A weak urinary stream once it starts
  • Dribbling after you’re finished
  • Pain in the genital and pelvic area
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Frequent urinary tract infections

Other more serious prostate cancer symptoms may include:

  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Pain in the lower back or pelvic area
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue

As noted, during the early stages of prostate cancer, there are no symptoms. That’s why screenings and yearly check-ups are critically important in catching cancer early, before it spreads outside the prostate. In other words, you may not have any symptoms at all, and cancer may be detected as a result of a general health check-up where a PSA test and physical exam of the prostate are given.

Most prostate cancer is found as a result of prostate cancer screening tests, most commonly a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test and a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE).

It’s easy to mistake prostate cancer for BPH, prostatitis, or overactive bladder. It’s important to have annual check-ups, especially if you are experiencing symptoms outlined above. If your doctor sees reason for further examinations, insist on an oncologist from Comprehensive for a complete diagnosis, and if necessary, cancer care.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada provide a variety of options for men’s cancers. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

 

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.