Cancer is the second leading cause of death for men in America, and one of the most common cancers for men. The prostate is a part of the man’s reproductive system that is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube in which urine flows.
A prostate that is healthy should be about the size of a walnut, but if it becomes too large, it could squeeze the urethra and this may slow or stop the normal flow of urine. Prostate cancer usually grows “slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm.” Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly or are non-cancerous and may not require treatment, while other types of growths may be larger, more aggressive and cancerous.
Prostate cancer may not produce symptoms until the later, more advanced stages of the cancer. Some symptoms are trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, pain in the lower back, hips or thighs, discomfort in the pelvic area, bone pain, or erectile dysfunction.
It is difficult to discern the exact causes of prostate cancer, but some risk factors are:
· Older Age: Prostate cancer is most common in men who are 65 or older.
· Ethnicity: African American males have a greater risk of getting prostate cancer than men of other races. Prostate cancer tends to be more aggressive or advanced in African American males.
· Family History: Men are more likely to get prostate cancer if those in their family have suffered from either prostate cancer or breast cancer.
· Obesity: Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have an advanced disease that’s more difficult to treat.
Recommendations of screening for prostate cancer differ in the medical community, so the best thing to do is visit your health care provider if you have any concerns about prostate cancer. Make sure you schedule regular annual physicals.
If you do not have a primary care physician, you may search online for a Utica Park Clinic provider by specialty, location and other criteria.