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The Importance of Detecting Early Signs of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men, exceeded only by skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, each year in the U.S. about 165,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and another 30,000 die from the disease. About one out of every 41 men in the U.S. will die from prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

That sounds bleak, but consider this: As serious as prostate cancer is, most men who are diagnosed with the disease don’t die from it. The key is to “catch” the disease in its early stages before it has a chance to spread to other areas of the body. Regular urology exams are an important part of that early diagnosis, especially for men 55 years of age and older in whom prostate cancer is more common. But it’s also important to learn how to recognize the symptoms of prostate cancer so you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Doe as soon as possible. Here’s what to look for.

Prostate cancer: Signs and symptoms

Prostate cancer doesn't always cause symptoms early on. In fact, in the earliest stages of prostate cancer, you may have no noticeable symptoms at all. That's why having regular prostate exams is so very important. But when prostate cancer does cause symptoms, the most common ones are these:

Changes in the way you urinate

The prostate gland is located near your bladder and urinary tract. If you have a tumor on your prostate, it can press on your bladder or on the tubes that carry your urine to or away from your bladder. When that happens, you might notice changes in the way you urinate, like a weak or slow urine stream, a urinary flow that stops and starts, or a need to empty your bladder more frequently, especially during the night when you’re sleeping.

Blood in your urine or your semen

Blood in your urine or your semen typically is associated with more advanced stages of prostate cancer. The symptom usually develops when the tumor grows large enough to press on your kidneys, ureters, or other structures, causing irritation and injury which in turn leads to bleeding. Blood in your urine or semen doesn’t necessarily appear bright red; your urine may appear brownish or pinkish or even the color of tea.

Pain in your hips or back

Sometimes, a large tumor can press on nerves that can cause painful symptoms in your hips, back, or chest. Other times, widespread pain can be a sign the cancer has spread to other areas.

Numbness or weakness in your legs or feet

In some cases, the tumor may press on the nerves that help control your bladder or bowels. When that happens, you can become incontinent.

Don’t panic: It may not be cancer

While these are all symptoms that can occur with prostate cancer, more commonly they’re associated with other issues. For instance, changes in the way you urinate (the most common and earliest sign of prostate trouble) may be caused by a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. BPH causes your prostate to enlarge, and it’s a very common condition among older men. It’s also not cancerous. The bottom line: There’s no way to know for sure what’s causing your symptoms without an examination. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an office visit with Dr. Andrew Doe to learn what’s causing them so you can get the most appropriate care.

Schedule a prostate exam today

The American Cancer Society recommends regular prostate exams beginning at age 50 for men who are at average risk for the disease, and as early as age 40 for men who have risk factors for prostate cancer (including men who have a family history of the disease). Dr. Andrew Doe can help men understand their prostate cancer risks and take steps to stay healthy at every stage of life. If it's been a while since your last prostate exam (or if you've never had one), take a few moments and book an appointment online today.

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