Prostate is a gland in men that surrounds the urethra. It helps in the production of seminal fluid. Prostate Cancer is a cancer affecting this gland. But unlike other types of cancer, this one is not aggressive at all. In fact, it grows very slowly. If you catch it during an early stage, it's safe to monitor the cancer through active surveillance and delay treatments until the cancer becomes serious and threatening.
Prostate cancer treatments include:
- hormone therapy
These treatments can have side effects such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Symptoms of prostate cancer are not apparent during the early stage. But when they appear, symptoms would include urinary problems such as:
- not being able to urinate
- difficulty starting or stopping flow of urine
- urinating more often than normal
- having pain or burning sensation during urination
- difficulty having an erection
- blood in the urine or semen
- deep and frequent pain in the lower back, belly, pelvis or hip
Symptoms that indicate that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body include:
- weight loss
- bone pain
- feet and leg swelling
Risk for prostate cancer is increased by the following factors:
Men who are older than 50 years old have heightened risk of prostate cancer. More than 60 percent of new prostate cancer cases are found in men who are older than 65. About 70 percent of cancer deaths occur in men older than 75.
• Family History
There is also bigger chance of developing this form of cancer if anyone in the family had it. The risk is doubled if your father or brother had this cancer. Men who have family history of prostate cancer should be regularly screened for it. Take note however that even if you don't have family history, it's still possible for you to develop it. Other than that, men whose families have genetic changes that cause breast cancer such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 are also at risk of prostate cancer.
African-American men and Jamaican men who come from African descent are at greater risk of getting the serious type of prostate cancer. It was discovered recently that a gene that occurs more often in African-American men elevate the risk of this cancer. Asian-American men are also more prone to this cancer than Asian men in Japan and China. This can be accounted to the high-fat diet in the Western countries.
Speaking of food, what you eat can also affect your prostate cancer risk. It has been found that men who live in countries that eat red meat and fats more often are more susceptible to this form of cancer. Those who eat vegetables that are rich in lycopene, which is found in tomatoes and beets, are at less risk.
Some places in the world have low rates of prostate cancer. These include Japan and China. Japanese and Chinese men living in other countries where prostate cancer cases are high such as in the United States are at greater risk than those who live in their native countries.
Whether you're at risk or not, it's important to get regular screening for prostate cancer.