Prostate cancer is one of the most common and deadly forms of cancer in men, particularly older men. However, studies are now showing that the disease is being diagnosed at an ever-increasing rate in younger men – showing that prostate cancer isn’t just an elderly disease.
If a male is diagnosed with prostate cancer prior to age 55, it is considered early-onset. When this occurs, the doctor will investigate whether genetic disorders are present that may have triggered the prostate cancer.
Early diagnosis can make this cancer very treatable. Deaths from prostate cancer in men between 35 and 54 years of age is only at 2 percent – a lower percentage than other cancers.
But the increasing rate at younger ages is a concern, so let’s discuss what may be behind the numbers.
Increased Rate of Prostate Cancer in Young Men
The number of younger men with early-onset prostate cancer has grown from 5.6 cases per 100,000 men (in 1986) to more than 30 cases per 100,000 today. It’s unclear whether these numbers are indicating that more younger men are actually developing the cancer than before or if more are simply being screened – and therefore more are diagnosed sooner than before.
Since 1986, when that figure was 5.6, screening tests have also improved. This could also be a factor in the higher number of men being diagnosed.
Genetic Factors in Cancer Diagnosis
Genetics plays a role. If a young man has a close family member who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the family connection increases the young man’s risk by two to three times.
For most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a relatively young age, environmental factors are not contributors. In other words, the cancer is almost never a result of poor lifestyle habits like smoking or an unhealthy diet, but rather the result of an inherited trait or susceptibility.
Is Prostate Cancer More Aggressive in Younger Men or Older Men?
Though prostate cancer occurs more often in men who are in their 70s and 80s, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that younger men who are diagnosed with this cancer tend to experience a more aggressive, fast-growing form of the disease than do older men.
Every man, regardless of age, should be screened for prostate cancer. This type of cancer often doesn’t provide any warning signs, so a medical exam is necessary to discover it when it does exist.
Symptoms to Look For
A young man with prostate cancer may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Increased urgency to urinate
- Increased frequency in urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in semen
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
- Pain while urinating
- Pain in the lower back, pelvis, upper legs, or hips
Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Your urologist will recommend the proper treatment based on the type and stage of cancer and your age. Options include:
Surgery to remove the prostate (prostatectomy)
- Hormone therapy
There are various types of radiation treatments for prostate cancer, and each has its benefits and risks. Your doctor will explain whether any of these should work well for you, or whether you have a low-grade cancer that could simply be closely monitored.
Urology in Phoenix
The good news regarding prostate cancer is that it’s highly treatable when caught early. The success rate following treatment is very good.
Contact us today to make an appointment for a prostate cancer screening by calling (480) 961-2323, or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to partnering with you in keeping you healthy.