The five signs of prostate cancer all men should be aware of

By understanding prostate cancer symptoms, you can take control of your health and seek medical care if needed. Here are the five signs of prostate cancer and what to do if you're concerned.

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Talking about health concerns like prostate cancer can sometimes feel uncomfortable and awkward, but it's so important that we force ourselves to have these conversations so we can stay informed and aware of what's going on in our bodies. 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common type of cancer to affect men.

Prostate cancer risk factors

A risk factor is something that can increase your chance of developing a condition. Here are some of the risk factors for prostate cancer you should be wary of:

- Age: Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. - There is a slightly higher risk of prostate cancer for black men

- Family history of prostate cancer

- Obesity and weight: Being overweight can increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer (when the cancer has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body)

- Hormone levels

By being aware of the symptoms, you can take control of your health and seek medical care or explore prostate cancer treatment options if needed. Remember, the earlier this common cancer is detected, the better the outcomes are likely to be.

What are the stages of prostate cancer?

Early-stage prostate cancer - This is when the cancer cells are have not yet spread outside the prostate

Stage 2 - the cancer/tumour is still confined to your prostate and hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other parts of your body. 

Stage 3 - Cancer cells may or may not have spread outside the prostate to other tissues. The survival rate of prostate cancer that hasn’t spread to distant parts of your body is still close to 100 percent

Stage 4 - Is the most advanced stage of prostate cancer and is divided into two letter groups. Stage 4 prostate cancer can have any grade group, PSA value, and Gleason score.

What are the five signs of prostate cancer?

Sign one: Urinary Symptoms

One of the earliest signs of prostate cancer can be urinary changes. You might notice more frequent urination, especially during the night. Changes with the flow of urine, such difficulty starting or stopping urine flow, weak flow, or experiencing a sense of urgency are other common indicators. Some people may also experience urinary incontinence, or feeling a sudden urge to urinate, or a weak urine flow. These symptoms can also be caused by benign conditions, so consulting a healthcare professional is important for an accurate diagnosis.

Sign two: Blood in Urine or Semen

Discovering blood in your urine or semen can be a worrisome experience. While it can be attributed to various conditions, including infections, it's best to get checked out by a doctor. Prostate cancer can sometimes cause these symptoms, and a medical evaluation can help identify the underlying cause and determine the best next steps. 

Sign three: Erectile Dysfunction

Occasional difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection are relatively common and often only last for a short amount of time. However, persistent or worsening erectile dysfunction could potentially be linked to prostate cancer. It's vital to remember that erectile dysfunction can stem from multiple factors, both physical and psychological. Consulting a healthcare professional can help pinpoint the root cause and guide you towards appropriate treatment options.

Sign four: Pelvic Pain or Discomfort

Experiencing bone pain or persistent pain or discomfort in the pelvic region, lower back, hips, or thighs can be a potential indication of prostate cancer. However, it's important to note that these symptoms can also result from other conditions. Your doctor can assess your medical history, conduct a thorough examination, carry out a bone scan, or order diagnostic tests to provide a proper diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Sign five: Unexplained Weight Loss and Fatigue

While weight loss and fatigue can be attributed to various factors, unexplained and unintentional weight loss accompanied by persistent fatigue should not be overlooked. In some cases, prostate cancer can cause these symptoms. If you've been experiencing these changes and they don't improve with lifestyle modifications, it's best to contact your healthcare provider to explore potential causes.

What should you do if you're concerned about prostate cancer?

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms you should speak to a doctor or your Fertifa Patient Advisor to discuss your symptoms and medical history.

Just because you have one or some of these symptoms, it does not mean you have prostate cancer. Sometimes symptoms can be dues to an enlarged prostate that is not related to cancer. 

When you speak to a doctor about these symptoms they may perform some testes to determine the cause. A Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is a physical exam done by a medical professional which assess the prostate gland, and a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test may be carried out to measure PSA levels, which can indicate prostate-related issues.

If further investigation is needed, contact your healthcare provider, you may be recommend additional screening tests like a prostate biopsy (which involves taking a tissue sample from the prostate and testing it for cancerous cells) or an imagine scan. Following the diagnostic tests, your doctor will be able to make a prostate cancer diagnosis and discuss treatment options, if necessary.

There are a number of effective treatment options available for prostate cancer

Active Surveillance: Some types of prostate cancer grow very slowly. For early stage or localised and slow-growing prostate cancer, regular monitoring is used to track any changes in the cancer's behaviour. This avoids immediate treatment, while ensuring timely intervention if necessary.

Surgery: A radical prostatectomy involves surgically removing the prostate gland and nearby tissues (which can include the seminal vesicles and nearby lymph nodes) to treat localised cancer, aiming to remove the cancerous tissue entirely. 

Radiation Therapy: Using high-energy rays, radiation therapy can target and destroy cancer cells through external beam radiation therapy or brachytherapy (which involves placing tiny radioactive seeds directly into the prostate), either as a primary treatment or in combination with other approaches. This type of prostate cancer treatment kills the cancerous cells and minimises damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Hormone Therapy: This treatment aims to suppress the production of male hormones, like testosterone, to slow the growth of cancer cells. It is often used in conjunction with other treatments. Hormonal therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments.

Chemotherapy: Recommended for advanced cancer or metastatic prostate cancer, chemotherapy targets and kills cancer cell all throughout the body. It can help manage symptoms, slow disease progression and improve overall quality of life.

There are multiple prostate cancer treatment options. Each method of treatment for prostate cancer has its own considerations, benefits, and potential treatment side effects. It's essential to have open and honest discussions with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

If you're worried that you might have any of the symptoms of prostate cancer, speak to your doctor or Fertifa patient advisor as soon as possible 💜