Prostate Cancer 101: What Every Man Should Know
Knowing the facts, symptoms, risk factors, and screening tests can help bring awareness to prostate cancer. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed or you’re trying to prevent the disease altogether, keep reading for seven things you should know about this extremely prevalent condition.
1. Prostate cancer is a common disease
Although men face many health issues throughout their lives, prostate cancer ranks as one of the most prevalent. Second to skin cancer, this is the most common cancer in American men. In fact, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. But, despite how common this condition is, it is often overlooked and misunderstood.
2. This cancer is rarely fatal
Prostate cancer may be a fairly common disease, but the good news is that you can live a long time with it — especially if you catch it early. This slow-growing disease is typically curable when discovered in the early stages and treatable when it’s more advanced. In fact, prostate cancer has a five-year survival rate of 98%. However, as is the case with most diseases, prevention is always the best cure.
3. Early prostate cancer is typically asymptomatic
In the early stages, you may have no signs or symptoms at all. (This is why regular checkups and health screenings are key to catching the disease as early as possible.)
While some forms of prostate cancer are slow to progress, there are other more aggressive forms, too. In more advanced cases, some common symptoms include:
- Difficulty urinating or a complete inability to urinate
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Abdominal, pelvic, hip, or back pain
- Loss of appetite and weight
If you think you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with one of our urologists as soon as possible.
4. Genetics matter just as much as your diet and lifestyle
There are many factors that may affect your chances of developing prostate cancer, including age, race, diet, and lifestyle. However, the importance of genetics should not be overlooked. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, especially a direct relative such as a father or brother, then your risk is higher.
Of course, it doesn’t help if you have a poor diet, frequently smoke and drink, or rarely exercise either. Regardless of whether you have a family history of the disease or not, it is important to do what you can to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your prostate and urology health may depend on it!
5. Hormones play a role, too
Hormones can contribute to an enlarged prostate, which can also result in prostate cancer. If you frequently eat animal products that have been treated with growth hormones, such as meat and dairy, your body may be absorbing and processing these hormones. This could lead to an enlarged prostate, and consuming these hormones may even increase your risk for prostate cancer.
6. Routine checkups and screenings are crucial
Although you should always be proactive and prioritize your urology health, this is especially true as you age. Participating in regular health testing, such as a prostate exam or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, is crucial for maintaining a healthy prostate. If you are experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer or if you know you are at risk, your urologist will likely recommend getting screened for the disease.
During the early stages, you may have no signs or symptoms at all. For men over 40, cancer screenings and annual checkups with your urologist are extremely important to catch the disease as early as possible. Getting a PSA blood test, a digital rectal exam (DRE), or a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) can help your doctor determine if you have prostate cancer or if you’re at risk of developing the disease.
7. Prevention is the best cure
Eating a healthy diet, exercising often, limiting smoke and alcohol consumption, and reducing stress levels are all important practices to incorporate into your daily life. While meat can be a great source of protein for some people, it is important to limit the number of products laden with hormones, cholesterol, and saturated fat in your diet. Consuming plenty of organic fresh fruits and vegetables is important as well, in addition to beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
As is the case with many other diseases, keeping your overall health in check is the key to preventing prostate cancer. To learn more about achieving and maintaining optimal urology health, download our free Nutrition and Lifestyle Guide.
Treating Prostate Cancer With The Urology Specialists
Nearly 3 million men in the United States are living with prostate cancer. While various factors like age, race, and genetics can increase your risk of developing the disease, the importance of diet, exercise, screenings, and prioritizing your overall health should not be ignored.
At Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, we’re here to help you in any way that we can. Schedule an appointment at your nearest USOC location if you have questions about prostate cancer or would like to further discuss prevention or treatment options with one of our urologists.
And in the meantime, check out our Living With Prostate Cancer Guide to learn even more. Throughout this guide, you will find information on prostate cancer symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, and much more. Click the button below to download your free copy!
This content was originally published in September 2015 and was refreshed in September 2021.