In the U.S., about one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. One in 41 Americans will likely die from the disease.
The best way to increase your chances of surviving cancer is to catch it early. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America lists various signs of prostate cancer you can look out for.
The prostate is a male organ the size of a small walnut. Its purpose mainly relates to reproduction. The prostate secretes seminal fluid volume, which contains minerals like zinc and electrolytes necessary for sperm activity.
The prostate is located just in front of the bladder and surrounds the urethra. This is why, as men advance in age, their prostate enlarges, leading to symptoms like difficulty to urinate.
Its proximity to the rectum means a digital rectal exam can detect abnormal growths and texture changes in the prostate gland.
This enlargement of the prostate may manifest benign prostatic hyperplasia, an inflammation called prostatitis, or prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is a dysregulated proliferation of prostate cells. The organ grows in an uncontrolled manner and applies pressure on the surrounding tissue. This disturbance causes unusual discomfort plus the signs and symptoms listed below.
While prostate cancer is typically asymptomatic, early warning signs of the disease may relate to urinary symptoms because of how close the prostate gland is to the bladder and urethra.
A prostate tumor could compress your urethra, thereby constraining the flow of urine.
A variety of symptoms may occur as a result:
At a late stage, other potential issues occur. Prostate cancer can metastasize – or spread – to tissues and bones in the surrounding area. If this happens, symptoms may include:
The risk factors in developing cancer of the prostate are:
Let’s be honest. There is no proven method to prevent prostate cancer. But there are multiple ways to reduce your risk:
Being proactive could help to unveil cancer at an early stage when it is more treatable.
Cancer treatment options like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy have improved in the past decades, thanks to innovative cancer research. However, treatments show better results when the tumor is still young. That’s why screening is the best way to take control of your health.
Health agencies like the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute strongly recommend prostate cancer screening, especially for those over age 50.
Early detection of prostate cancer leads to a nearly 100% survival rate five years after diagnosis, while an advanced prostate cancer would have only a 31% survival rate.
While it’s undoubtedly important to be on the lookout for potential signs or symptoms, your best bet is to be vigilant via regular prostate cancer screening.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests potentially show you if you’re at risk for prostate cancer. The prostate cells secrete the PSA. It can be found in the semen and also in the blood.
When the PSA concentration increased, it is likely the number of prostate cells increased too. It could indicate an enlarged prostate, thus potential cancer.
However, these PSA tests are only about 21% accurate, as elevated PSA levels can also indicate a slew of other, non-life-threatening conditions such as prostatitis or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).
For this reason, it makes sense to look at other exams first.
A DRE is a brief and painless exam of the prostate gland. Your doctor will palp the back of the prostate by inserting a gloved and lubricated finger in your rectum. Like this, your doctor can determine any abnormalities and direct you toward further exams if necessary.
An MRI is the best way to detect prostate cancer. Such imaging technique allows the doctor to:
Recommended reading: What does an MRI show, and how does it work?
Here at ezra, you can get a full-body MRI exam with us.
In less than 60 minutes, you can check up to 13 organs for cancer including the prostate. This helps you and your healthcare team screen for potential early cancer and early disease.
Ask your doctor if you are eligible for cancer screening, and start your screening with us. Make an appointment.