The prostate is only the size of a walnut, yet this part of the male reproductive system can have an enormous impact on health and wellness. Current statistics demonstrate that prostate cancer is one of the leading types of cancer to affect men, and that 1 in 7 men are likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. We think it’s important that you know the facts about prostate cancer, should you or a loved one face this condition.
Risks of Prostate Cancer
There are certain groups of men who are at a higher risk for prostate cancer. These include men who:
- Are obese.
- Have a family history of prostate cancer (brother or father).
- Are aged 60 or older. The risk continues to rise with age.
- African-American men have a higher risk of cancer regardless of age.
Knowing the Signs
Because there may not be an indicator letting you know that abnormal cells are living in the prostate, it is important to undergo routine assessment as recommended by your family physician. However, potential warning signs may include:
- Difficult with sexual function, such as painful ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
- Problems with urine flow (starting or holding back urination is difficult). Weak urine flow.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Recurring stiffness or pain in the hips, lower back, or upper thighs.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends that healthy men with a normal risk for prostate cancer receive screening starting at the age of fifty. Higher risk patients, including African-American men with a family history of prostate cancer (brother or father), should be screened at age 45. Men who are at a very high risk, such as having multiple family members diagnosed with prostate cancer, should begin screening at the age of 40.
Screening may include a digital rectal exam and / or a PSA blood test. High levels of PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, indicate prostate inflammation, but not necessarily prostate cancer. Further testing is scheduled if PSA is above normal range.
UTMB is at the forefront of medical innovation as it relates to the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. For more information, contact us.
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