Prostate Cancer: Understanding the Risk Factors and Symptoms

Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the U.S. Understanding the early signs and risk factors can lead to early detection, which can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. Fortunately, you can start an online search to learn more about prostate cancer right now.

What Are the First Clues of Prostate Cancer?

It’s common for men to not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease, but it’s still important to be aware of the possible symptoms. The first signs of prostate cancer may include urinary problems, such as frequent urination, difficulty starting or stopping urination, weak urine flow, or a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is essential to speak with your doctor if you experience them.

Other early clues of prostate cancer can include blood in your urine or semen, painful ejaculation, or pain in your lower back, hips, or thighs. If left untreated, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body and cause more advanced symptoms such as bone pain, swelling in your legs, fatigue, weight loss, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is key!

Understanding the Possible Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

While the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are several risk factors that may increase a man’s chances of developing the disease. Age is one of the most significant risk factors, with prostate cancer being most common in men over the age of 50. Family history is another important factor, as men with a close relative who has had prostate cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease themselves.

Ethnicity can also play a role in prostate cancer risk. The American Cancer Society says African American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer, followed by Caribbean men of African descent. On the other hand, Asian and Hispanic men have a lower incidence of the disease. Lifestyle factors such as a diet high in calcium, as well as a lack of exercise may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Prostate Cancer?

There are several diagnostic tests that doctors may use to diagnose prostate cancer, depending on a patient’s individual circumstances. One of the most common tests used for prostate cancer diagnosis is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the levels of PSA in the blood. High PSA levels may indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but further tests are needed to confirm a diagnosis.

If the PSA test shows elevated levels, a doctor may perform a digital rectal exam (DRE) to check for abnormalities in the prostate gland. If any abnormalities are found, a doctor may recommend a biopsy to confirm the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate gland.

Other tests that may be used to diagnose prostate cancer include transrectal ultrasound (TRUS), which uses sound waves to create images of the prostate gland, and a bone scan or positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which can help determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Treating Prostate Cancer

There are various treatment options for prostate cancer but the treatment you receive will depend on various factors such as the stage and grade of the cancer as well as your overall health and preferences. The most common treatment options for prostate cancer include active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.

Active surveillance involves monitoring the cancer closely without immediate treatment, but with regular check-ups and imaging tests. This is an option for men with low-risk prostate cancer or those who prefer to avoid immediate treatment. The next course of action may be surgery, which involves removing the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue. This is often recommended for early-stage prostate cancer, and those with cancer confined to the prostate gland.

Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and can be used as the primary treatment for early-stage prostate cancer or in combination with surgery for more advanced cases. Hormone therapy, on the other hand, involves reducing the levels of male hormones such as testosterone, which can help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Other treatment options may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or bone-targeted therapy, which may be recommended for advanced cases of prostate cancer that have spread to other parts of the body.

New Breakthrough Treatments Offer Hope

New breakthrough treatments have been developed for advanced prostate cancer that offers hope for those with the disease. These treatments include drugs such as Xtandi, Nubeqa, and Apalutamide.

Xtandi, Nubeqa, and Apalutamide are oral medications that target male hormones and have been shown to delay the progression of advanced prostate cancer. Xtandi may extend the lives of men who have already undergone chemotherapy, while Nubeqa delays the progression of non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. And Apalutamide aims to block the effects of male hormones and delay the spread of non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

While these breakthrough treatments offer hope for men with advanced prostate cancer, it’s important to remember that every case is unique, and treatment options should be tailored to each individual’s needs. You should discuss these treatment options with your medical team to determine if they’re appropriate for your situation.