Living Well

Prostate Cancer: Early detection by screening is key to survival

Prostate Cancer: Early detection by screening is key to survival

This year alone, nearly 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the most common cancer detected among males. 60 percent of cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 and older, and that’s why it’s essential for men to schedule a yearly physical as they age. A blood test can detect potential issues with the prostate, including cancer, which is treatable if caught in the early stages.

Early diagnosis results in positive outcomes for those with prostate cancer

For multiple reasons, men are inherently less likely to make a doctor's appointment when compared to women. While that procrastination can create frustration among loved ones, it becomes a much more serious matter if he has undetected prostate cancer.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and is part of the male reproductive system. As men age, this gland can become enlarged and cause numerous medical issues, such as cancer. Age is one of the main risk factors, but there are other factors that men need to know, such as:

  • Race: Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer and are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer.
  • Family history: Having the same type of cancer in multiple generations, including breast cancer, puts men at a higher risk for prostate cancer due to genes, shared environments, and lifestyle factors.
  • Location: Prostate cancer is most often diagnosed in men who live in North America or northern Europe.
  • Diet: Individuals who have a higher calorie intake diet have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer. Researchers have a found a link to higher calorie diets to increased insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which increases the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.

Knowing your risk factors can guide your doctor on when to begin annual screenings, as early detection of prostate cancer is key to successfully battling this disease. Men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has not spread to other organs have a five-year survival rate of nearly 100 percent. However, the five-year survival rate dramatically drops to just 30 percent if diagnosed after cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Cancer prevention not only involves a healthy diet and exercise program but also entails a yearly physical exam. For men, an initial prostate cancer screening may involve something as simple as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which can detect cancer and other potential issues that can occur in the prostate, including inflammation, infection, or a non-cancerous growth.

Signs and symptoms that may indicate

Like so many cancers, prostate cancer typically has no symptoms in the very early stages, but as the cancer advances, there are noticeable changes occurring, such as:

  • Urinating often, especially at night
  • A weak or interrupted urine flow or trouble to start urinating
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or stiffness in your lower back, upper thighs, hips, or ribs
  • Weakness or numbness in legs or feet

If you are experiencing symptoms or have any questions concerning prostate health, reach out to your doctor, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

We have health experts ready to answer all your questions. To learn more about Cancer Care at University Medical please visit umcno.org/cancercare.

To schedule a prostate screening please call 504.702.3311.