What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in a man’s prostate gland. The prostate sits just below the bladder. It makes part of the fluid for semen. In young men, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. It usually grows larger as you grow older.
Prostate cancer is common in men older than 65. It usually grows slowly and can take years to grow large enough to cause any problems. Most cases are treatable, because they are found with screening tests before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Although most men may die with prostate cancer, most men do not die from it.
Experts don’t know what causes prostate cancer, but they believe that your age, family history (genetics), and race affect your chances of getting it. Eating a high-fat diet may also play a part.
What are the symptoms?
Prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms in its early stages. Most men don’t know they have it until it is found during a regular medical exam.
When problems are noticed, they are most often problems with urinating. But these same symptoms can also be caused by an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). An enlarged prostate is common in older men.
See your doctor for a checkup if:
- You have trouble starting your urine stream.
- You have a weaker-than-normal urine stream.
- You cannot urinate at all.
- You have to urinate often.
- You feel like your bladder is not emptying completely when you urinate.
- You have to get up at night to urinate.
- You have pain or burning when you urinate.
- You have blood in your urine.
- You have a deep pain in your lower back, belly, hip, or pelvis.