What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer affects men in their prostate glands. One of the most common cancers found in men, it can go undetected for years. A slow-growing tumor will not push against anything to cause pain in the early stages.
Prostate cancer may first appear through urinary symptoms. The tumor can press on and restrict your urethra, which can cause interrupted urine flow and pain when urinating. You may also experience loss of bladder control, frequent urge to urinate, or burning sensation while urinating. These early signs of prostate cancer may go undetected or be associated with the wrong issue.
Early screenings can determine if you have cancerous cells in your prostate. About 85 percent of prostate cancers are detected in early screenings. Cancer cells can be found before you experience any kind of symptoms.
Signs of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer can be hard to self-diagnose because there are not many symptoms. When you start to see changes in your prostate, you will want to compare your symptoms to the following five warning signs before going to your doctor:
Types of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a tumor that forms in your prostate. There are two types of tumor growth in prostate cancer. They include:
These are noncancerous growths that do not spread to other body parts. They are typically easy to treat and are not life-threatening.
The more serious type of growth is malignant. These tumors can spread and grow quickly. They will usually spread beyond your prostate and into surrounding areas, depending on what stage of cancer you are in. Early stages are easier to treat.
Causes of prostate cancer
Doctors are not entirely certain what causes prostate cancer to form, but there are some factors that increase your risk of having it. These include:
Prostate cancer is more likely to occur in Black men and Caribbean men of African ancestry. When it does occur in these men, it’s more likely to happen at a younger age. It is less likely to develop in Asian and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic white men.
Certain genes may put you at risk for developing prostate cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, you should prioritize getting early prostate screenings.
Prostate cancer is more likely to happen in men from North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. Scientists are unsure of the reason, but it may be attributed to lifestyle and diet differences.
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Diagnosing prostate cancer
Your doctor may run several tests to diagnose prostate cancer. They may first do a digital rectal examination and then a biopsy, where a tissue sample is examined to determine if cancerous cells are present. Then they’ll run imaging tests to find the size and stage of your cancer. Once your doctor has an official diagnosis and understanding of your prostate cancer, they will determine the right path of treatment for you.
Treatments for prostate cancer
Prostate cancer cells typically grow slowly, and when they are found early, there is an easier path to treatment. If your cancer has not spread to your bones or surrounding organs, it is easier to treat. Many treatments are available for prostate cancer, including:
Your doctor will discuss what the right option is for you.
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Cancer Treatment Centers of America: "Prostate cancer symptoms."
John Hopkins Medicine: "Prostate Cancer Symptoms."
Moffitt Cancer Center: "What Are the Five Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?"
National Cancer Institute: "Prostate Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Patient Version."
Prostate Cancer Foundation: "Prostate Cancer Causes."
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Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Treatment
If prostate cancer is detected early and appears to be slow-growing, invasive procedures, chemotherapy, radiation and other approaches can sometimes do more harm than good. Many prostate cancer treatments come with side effects, like incontinence or impotence, so it’s in the patient’s interest to put off invasive treatments as long as is medically safe. Active surveillance is where doctors "watch and wait" for changes that could prompt medical intervention.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is largely a disease of men over 40, so it’s around this age doctors recommend the first prostate screening. The first exam is a blood test to determine if there are abnormal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood – PSA is produced by the prostate. If the PSA is high, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, during which the doctor feels your prostate from inside your rectum with a gloved finger. Other diagnostic tests include an endoscopic biopsy of tumor tissue for analysis in a lab.
Prostate CancerProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet. Prostate cancer is diagnosed by digital rectal exam, prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy. Symptoms may include frequent need to urinate, incontinence, pain, blood in the urine, fatigue, and more. Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging. Watchful waiting, surgery, radiation, cryotherapy, and other management strategies are available. Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer and cancer death in males; in some men, identifying it early may prevent or delay metastasis and death from prostate cancer. The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is a part of the male reproductive system that wraps around the male urethra at it exits the bladder. Prostate cancer is common in men over 50 years of age, with the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with aging.
Prostate Cancer SlidesProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, along with causes and treatments. Know the stages, survival rates and lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer (Prostatic Cancer) Symptoms and Causes
Difficulty with urination – frequency, weak stream, trouble getting started, etc. – is usually the first sign of prostate cancer. But these and other early symptoms of prostatic cancer can also come from benign prostate conditions, so diagnostic testing is important, including PSA tests and digital rectal exam.
Prostate Cancer ScreeningProstate cancer screening may be able to detect cancer before a person has developed any symptoms. Prostate cancer is the most common nonskin cancer among American men. Tests commonly used to screen for prostate cancer include a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test).
Prostate Cancer Staging and Prognosis
The prognosis for prostate cancer, as with any cancer, depends on how advanced the cancer has become, according to established stage designations. The patient's PSA score at diagnosis, as well as their Gleason score (the grading system used to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer) determines the prognosis and final stage designation. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate in general, but your chances depend on the stage of the cancer.
Prostate ProblemsThe prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system and is located between the bladder and penis. Signs and symptoms of prostate problems include painful ejaculation, burning or pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, dribbling urine, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, and pain in the lower back, hips, upper thighs, or the pelvic or rectal area. Common causes of prostate problems in men are prostatitis, enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer. Causes of prostate problems can assist in diagnosing prostate cancer. Treatments for prostate problems include medications, surgery, and hormone or radiation therapy.
What Are the 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?Prostate cancer rarely produces symptoms in the early stage; however, few signs can help in detecting prostate cancer.