Definition of Prostate Cancer
The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder and produces ejaculatory fluid that aids in reproduction. When prostate cells become damaged and begin to divide uncontrollably, prostate cancer occurs.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer often causes no symptoms. This is why an annual Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test along with prostate exam is important as they may allow detection of early prostate cancer causing absolutely no symptoms. Some prostate cancers may cause such symptoms as:
- Difficulty or an inability to urinate
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Blood in urine
- Loss of appetite and weight; and/or
- Continual lower back, pelvic, or upper thigh pain
Causes of Prostate Cancer
There is still research being done in what causes prostate cancer. Some prostate cancers may be inherited and caused by DNA mutations. Others may be related to hormones, environment, or diet.
Risk factors include:
Age: As age increases, the risk of prostate cancer increases.
Family history: Risk increases if patient’s father or brother has a history of prostate cancer.
Diet: Some researchers have linked a high-fat diet to prostate cancer. Others have found that eating too many calories (regardless of the food source) raises risk.