Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed among men, other than skin cancer. Globally, 1.1 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. This type of cancer is usually slow progressing, but has the potential to spread quickly if left untreated. Therefore, it’s not only important for patients to have a discussion about any symptoms they are experiencing, but also about proper health care and screening going forward.
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland found only in men, and is located beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. Part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is responsible for helping to create semen, and the activity and growth of the prostate is due to hormones called androgens and testosterone. The prostate muscle is also responsible for helping to propel seminal fluid to the urethra during ejaculation.
Although prostate cancer symptoms are not always present or obvious, for those men who do experience symptoms, they can include the following:
- Urinary Problems: Men can experience a weak urine stream, difficulty urinating, urinary incontinence, or enlarged prostate (BPH).
- Blood in urine or semen: Blood in the urine called hematuria is a clear sign that something is wrong.
- Pain and discomfort: Be aware if you have symptoms of pain in the neck, pelvis, spine, or upper legs.
- Changes in your testicles: if you notice a change in the color or size of your testicles, never delay getting it looked at.
- Changes in your lymph nodes: Tenderness or swelling in your lymph nodes is often a sign that your immune system has weakened. Talk to the doctor if problems continue to persist.
Knowing how to identify the early-onset signs and symptoms of prostate cancer is critical to your overall health. It could mean the difference between having to undergo invasive chemotherapy treatment or surgery, or simply changing things in your lifestyle to be healthier and stop the cancer from developing or spreading.
To find out if your symptoms are caused by prostate cancer, your doctor will ask about your past medical problems and your family’s medical history. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam and/or check your PSA levels. Treatment for an enlarged prostate typically requires medication or surgery, depending on the situation. Treatment for prostate cancer depends on whether cancer is in part or all of the prostate, or if it has spread to other parts of the body. It also depends on other factors, such as family history, your age and overall health.
To learn more about men’s health, prostate cancer, and any symptoms you are experiencing, call Ironwood Urology at (480) 961-2323 to request an appointment with Dr. Desi Avila, or request an appointment online.