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Signs of Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is a type of cancer which affects the prostate gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate is a small gland, typically three centimeters long, and is found between the bladder and the rectum inside a man’s pelvic area. The prostate makes and stores a component of semen and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). Because the gland is close to the bladder and the urethra, any abnormal growth inside the prostate can affect the urinary tract and the ability to urinate.

Early stages of prostate cancer usually cause no symptoms. One of the primary risk factors for prostate cancer is age; it is rare that a man under the age of forty will get this disease. Men over the age of forty should have regular check-ups which should include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland, and although it is normal for all men to have a low level of PSA in their bodies, a higher level might indicate prostate cancer. In later stages of prostate cancer, the cancer may spread to other parts of the body like the bones or the lymph nodes. It is usually during the middle to late stages of cancer that signs of the disease can be felt by a man.

Signs of prostate cancer usually involve changes to the ability to urinate. One of these changes is hesitancy, which is difficulty in starting the urine stream. Other signs are having a weaker than normal urine stream, or an inability to urinate, or having to urinate more frequently than usual. There could also be a feeling that the bladder is still full even after urination has occurred.

Here are some other changes in the normal urinary process that might be indicator that something is wrong. Nocturia: having to get up at night to urinate more frequently than usual. Dysuria: having a burning feeling or pain during urination. Hematuria: finding blood in the urine.

Sometimes, prostate cancer can affect the sex life of a man. One of the signs to look for is erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to get or to maintain an erection. Painful ejaculation is also a sign that there might be prostate cancer. Hematospermia (blood in the semen after ejaculation) could also be a sign of prostate cancer.

However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean that a man has prostate cancer. Other infections or diseases can present the same symptoms and are not actually cancer. For instance, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is common in older men. The prostate gland naturally grows larger with age and when it becomes large enough, it can press against the urethra and cause bladder and urination problems. There is an infection which can occur in the prostate called prostatitis. This infection can cause some of the same symptoms as prostate cancer, but can be treated by antibiotics and cured quickly. Also, a urinary infection can present the same signs, but is not serious and can be treated with antibiotics.

There are different signs of prostate cancer if the cancer is in a later stage and has spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body like the bones or the lymph nodes. One of these signs can be pain in the lower abdomen, groin, back or hips that does not go away. Also, an unusual swelling in the legs and the feet can be a sign, as can an unexpected and unexplained weight loss.

If a man is experiencing any of these symptoms, he should go to his doctor for a check-up and tests to determine the cause of the symptoms.

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