Prostate cancer tends to affect only men. The incidence of prostate cancer is on the increase and tends to be more common in the western world. The causes of prostate cancer are poorly understood. However, risks factors include a positive family history, environmental and dietary factors. The incidence of prostate cancer in men tends to increase significantly over the age of 50.
Prostate cancer tends to have very little early warning signals. Hence, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms that may be indicative of problems with the prostate. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment begins the better the prognosis. Many times, asymptomatic prostate cancer may never become symptomatic, while on the other hand, some may turn aggressive and serious in a short period of time. Hence, a clear understanding of symptoms will help you explain your concerns clearly to the doctor so that he can help in finding the exact cause and treat it.
Prostate cancer causes unusual development of cells on the prostate. Development of these cells is a gradually process. As a result, prostate cancer can stay for a long time without showing any symptoms. This does not pronounce the condition asymptomatic.
As time passes, the condition develops and manifests different symptoms. These symptoms may vary depending on:
-The health of the patient.
-Other related infections
-The stage of the infection.
-How far the infection has spread.
-The age of the patient.
Prostate cancer usually has unclear symptoms in its early stages. As the disease manifests itself, symptoms begin to show up. They can include:
- Pain as one passes out urine. This is because the prostate surrounds the urethra
- Urinating often at night
- Passing out urine with blood
- Blood in your semen
- Pain on the hips
- Pain around the thighs
- The feeling of not having a completely empty bladder
Symptoms of prostate cancer may vary from man to man and could also be signs of several other conditions.If you have any of these symptoms it is important to consult your doctor. These changes may not indicate prostate cancer but it is safer to err on the side of caution.
What Else Is Prostate Cancer Associated With?
The prostate gland is in close proximity to the urethra and the bladder and hence prostate cancer is known to cause urinary dysfunction. It interferes with the functioning of the urinary tract and consequently can lead to urinary incontinence. Urinary problems can also arise from complications of the urethra when the cancer spreads to it.
The prostate normally enlarges as men get older. The enlargement of the prostate depends on the male sex hormone. This is a condition called Benign Prostatic hyperplasia. This is not due to cancer nor will it develop into cancer. This enlarged prostate could cause some of the urinary problems mentioned above due to the growing prostate pressing on the urethra. But even an enlarged prostate could still contain cancer cells.
So, if you notice any of the changes mentioned above it is important to see a doctor. These changes need not necessarily mean prostate cancer, but it is important to get it checked out.
Prostate cancer can also lead to sexual dysfunction which results to impotence. Sexual dysfunction is the inability to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. This is one of the most embarrassing effects to men. This leads to problems in performance during sexual intercourse. Such problems may consist the following:
- Pain during ejaculation
- Having erection problems.
- Having dry orgasm.
Here it is important to understand what constitutes sexual or erectile dysfunction. Inability to maintain an erection once or a few times need not necessarily indicate cancer. When a man cannot attain and maintain an erection for sexual intercourse, for at least twenty-five percent of the time, it indicates a problem. Several other conditions may cause this problem too. This may be a sensitive subject for men, but talking to your doctor at the earliest is the best course of action.
Other Problems That Prostate Cancer Can Result In
Prostate cancer can spread to affect more parts of the body. These are symptoms experienced in the last stages of prostate cancer where it has spread to other parts such as liver, bones, ribs, lungs and lymph nodes. This causes a patient to experience other symptoms such as:
- Pain in the spine bones. This is caused by developed cells in the spine bones. It is experienced especially when you are bending.
- Pain in the ribs. Any movement around the ribs causes this pain.
- Pain in the pelvis.
The spine can also be affected by prostate cancer and this leads to:
- Feebleness in the legs
- Fecal incontinence
- Urinary incontinence
Symptoms for Asymptomatic Men
Irrespective of prostate cancer being symptomatic, there are other men whose bodies do not exhibit symptoms early enough. This is may happen as a result of their health conditions or genetic make-up.
To such men, then prostate cancer possess more threat to their lives. This is because the condition develops to dangerous stages without being noticed. Most of these people experience very painful symptoms at the ages of 50 years.
According to scientific research, men with this kind of problem should seek PSA test often. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. Prostate gland is related to production of a certain protein. The test aims at determining the levels of this protein in the body. If you have prostate cancer, the levels of prostate protein produced rises. This test helps to keep a track on the amounts of the protein hence detecting any cases of prostate cancer.
Men above the age of 50 and those with risk factors will benefit from PSA tests. Discussing with your doctor the pros and cons of this test is advisable.
The Bottom Line
According to medical research around the world, 1 in every 15 men has chances of suffering from prostate cancer. If the condition is detected early enough majority of patients get healed. Symptoms brought by prostate cancer can also be related to other infection especially urinary tract infections.