Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, after skin cancer. About 1 man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The good news is that when prostate cancer is detected early and treated appropriately, its survival rate is very high.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Although prostate cancer often displays no symptoms, some signs of prostate cancer symptoms can include:
- Problems urinating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
These problems can also indicate the presence of other diseases so it is important to see your physician to determine their nature and cause.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Increased risk for prostate cancer has been linked to:
- Age: Two out of every three prostate cancer diagnoses are in men over age 65. The average age at diagnosis is about 66.
- Race: African-American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer than do Caucasian men and are twice as likely to die from it.
- Family history: Having a first-degree relative (a father, brother, or son) with the disease doubles the risk.
- Diet: A diet high in red meat or fatty dairy products and low in vegetables and fruit appears to increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis & Staging
The most common screening test for prostate cancer is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and/or a digital rectal exam administered by your physician. If screening tests determine that you may have prostate cancer, your physician will want you to have additional tests to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer and to determine whether the cancer has spread. This will help your physician determine your cancer treatment plan.
- Prostate biopsy: A prostate biopsy is the only way to accurately diagnose prostate cancer. During a biopsy, a small sample of the prostate is removed and looked at under a microscope. This test can also help tell how likely it is that the cancer will grow and spread quickly.