Ten Things Men Need to Know about Prostate Cancer
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a gland located below your bladder. It’s only found in men, and it makes some of the fluid in semen. In younger men, the prostate is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate grow out of control. This kind of cancer kills hundreds of thousands of men around the world every year, but if detected early, it is usually 100% treatable.
What are the most important things to know about prostate cancer?
Here are the top 10 things to know:
1. It’s common. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America and the fourth most common tumor diagnosed worldwide. About one out of every nine men in America will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. According to the Urology Care Foundation, prostate cancer is the third most common cause of all cancer-related deaths among men in the United States.
2. Some men are at higher risk than others. There are a lot of factors that can affect your likelihood of getting prostate cancer. Some of these factors you can’t control. For example, African American men are at higher risk. So are guys who have a father, brother, uncle or grandfather who’s had prostate cancer. And prostate cancer becomes a bigger risk as you get older: About six out of every 10 cases are found in men over the age of 65.
3. Lifestyle can play a role. To lower risks related to prostate cancer, you should exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight for your height. Don’t overdo fats, carbs and calcium in your diet, and make sure you eat plenty of vegetables. And if you smoke or use tobacco, stop.
4. Sexual activity doesn’t increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. You may have heard that lots of sex or frequent ejaculation increases your risk of prostate cancer. It’s not true. Actually, men who have more frequent ejaculations may be at a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
5. Having a vasectomy doesn’t increase your risk of developing prostate cancer either.
6. Prostate cancer is usually 100% treatable if detected early. If it’s treated during its earliest stages, there may not be any symptoms.
7. Prostate cancer often grows slowly and stays in the prostate… but not always. Prostate cancer is often one of the slowest-growing kinds of cancer a man can get. In fact, it can grow so slowly that old age is more likely to kill you first. But prostate cancer can sometimes spread quickly, so it’s not something to ignore.
8. Prostate cancer can be life-threatening. This is especially true if you’re a relatively young man or if you have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
9. Know the symptoms. If you’re having issues with urination, including increased frequency, a weak stream or painful urination, these symptoms might be due to an enlarged prostate, infection, inflammation or prostate cancer. Other possible prostate cancer symptoms include erection and ejaculation problems, blood in the urine or semen, and pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis or thighs.
10. Get checked regularly. Ask your doctor for recommendations on establishing a prostate cancer-screening schedule that makes sense for you, considering your risk factors and your family history. Testing is simple: It usually includes a blood test and a rectal exam, where the doctor checks the prostate with a finger.