Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland start to mutate and grow uncontrollably and more rapidly than normal cells. These abnormal cells can sometimes grow outside the prostate and into different parts of the body.
While the disease is potentially deadly, it is also highly treatable, especially if it is detected in its early stages. However, many men let prostate cancer go untreated because they don’t know how to read the signs.
Knowing how to read the symptoms of prostate cancer could mean the difference between radiation treatment, and eradicating it with minimal intervention. Let’s take a look some of the early warning signs of prostate cancer.
Most of the time there are no warning signs. Having a regular blood test (PSA or prostate specific antigen) is the best way, along with a prostate examination. Men can have a single PSA test at age 40 to look at their future risk of developing prostate cancer. A PSA at or below the median (about 0.8ng/mL) means the lifetime risk is low. If it is above the median but in the normal range the risk is no different from any other man.
With some risk factors (such as first degree relatives having had prostate cancer) the risk is increased so screening is recommended from age 40 with annual PSA and rectal exam. In the absence of risk factors screening can begin at age 50.
When there are symptoms occur it may be that the prostate cancer is more advanced. You are strongly advised to see your doctor if you have any o the following:
• Blood in the urine
• Painful urination or difficulty urinating, as well as frequent urination (particularly) at night
• Reduced urinary flow
• Reduced bladder control
• Blood in the semen
Many of these symptoms are identical to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia. This a common, non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland – referred to simply as an “enlarged prostate”.
Symptoms of BPH become more prevalent as men get older and are seen in 90% of men in their seventies and eighties. It is often confused with prostate cancer upon self-diagnosis.
If you have any further questions about prostate cancer and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call.