What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate Cancer occurs in a man’s prostate — a small walnut- shaped gland found in the male’s reproductive system that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Prostate Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men, and typically it grows slowly. It initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. Slow-growing Prostate Cancer may need minimal or no treatment, but other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Who is Vulnerable?
Prostate Cancer forms in tissues of the prostate gland, which is found below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate Cancer usually occurs in older men. In 2015 alone, 221,000 new cases of Prostate Cancer will be reported and 27,500 deaths (National Cancer Institute).
When to Talk To A Doctor
Prostate Cancer may not show signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs or symptoms may appear in more advanced cases. Make an appointment with your doctor, if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that worry you:
• Trouble urinating
• Decreased force in the stream of urine
• Blood in the urine
• Blood in the semen
• General pain in the lower back, hips or thighs
• Discomfort in the pelvic area
• Bone pain
• Erectile dysfunction
The strongest risk factor for Prostate Cancer is age. In fact, the chance of having Prostate Cancer increases rapidly after age 50. Almost 2 out of 3 prostate cancers are found in men over 65.
Prostate Cancer run in some families, which suggests the disease may be inherited and have a genetic component. If your father or brother has Prostate Cancer, or if your relatives were young when they were diagnosed with the disease, your risk increases. A small number of cases can be linked to several inherited genes that raise a man’s risk of developing this malignancy. However, genetic testing is not yet available to detect these genes. More studies are needed before gene variation can be used to predict prostate cancer risk.
Can race or ethnicity affect Prostate Cancer? Prostate Cancer occurs more often in African American men than in men of other races. African American men are also more likely than Caucasian men to be diagnosed with advanced Prostate Cancer. Asian American and Hispanic/Latino men are less likely to get Prostate Cancer than are non-Hispanic white men. Researchers do not know why these differences occur.
Aside from the risk factors described above, researchers still do not know what causes Prostate Cancer. Until the causes are discovered, there is no sure way to prevent this disease.