What You Should Know About Prostate Cancer

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What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer develops in the prostate, a small walnut- shaped gland that’s part of a man’s reproductive system. The prostate gland makes fluid that mixes with semen during ejaculation to help protect sperm and keeps it healthy for conception and pregnancy.

How common is prostate cancer?
About one in eight men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer affecting males. Close to 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year. There are many successful treatments—and some men don’t need treatment at all. Still, approximately 33,000 men die from the disease every year.

Who might have prostate cancer?
Men over the age of 55 are more prone to the disease. Your chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you age. In fact, 60% of prostate cancers occur in men over the age of 65. Other risk factors include ethnicity (black men have the highest risk) and family history of prostate cancer, obesity, and smoking.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Early-stage prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms.
The problems may occur as the disease progresses:
• Frequent, sometimes urgent need to urinate, especially at night
• Weak urine flow or flow that starts and stops
• Painful urination (dysuria)
• Fecal (bowel) incontinence
• Painful ejaculation and erectile dysfunction (ED)
• Blood in semen (hematospermia) or urine
• Lower-back pain, hip pain, and chest pain
• Leg or feet numbness

Are prostate problems always a sign of prostate cancer?
Not all growths in the prostate are cancerous, and not all prostate problems indicate cancer. Screenings are the most effective way to catch prostate cancer early. If you are at average cancer risk, you’ll probably have your first prostate screening at age 55. Your healthcare provider may start testing earlier if you have a family history of the disease or are experiencing symptoms. The good news is that with early detection and treatment, most prostate cancer is highly curable.