MEN: Learn the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer


September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. Most diagnosis occurs after age 60. However, many medical professionals recommend yearly exams after age 40 or 50. Nearly 240,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. Early detection with a blood test is one of the most effective ways to ensure survival.

 

Exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown, and there may be no symptoms in early stages. As the disease advances, common symptoms include difficulty urinating or poor urination stream. Some men may notice blood in urine or semen. Yet others may experience discomfort in the pelvic region or lower back.There are four main stages of the disease. In its early stage, the disease is localized within the prostate. As cells begin to grow, they invade surrounding tissue.

If ignored, the disease continues to spread into the lymph nodes and vessels. In its most advanced stage, cancer cells travel throughout the body and blood stream. This is known as metastasis and is fatal.There are two primary tests that help detect early stages of the disease. Digital rectal exams involve a physical check of the prostate. Abnormal size and shape is cause for further testing. Medical professionals also order a blood test  for prostate specific antigen or PSA. This is done by examining the amount of antigen protein in the blood. High antigen levels may signify cancer.
Blood Tests For CancerNormal prostate specific antigen readings vary from man to man and increase as men age. Therefore, normal readings for men above age 70 may prove high for men age 40. Normal prostate blood test readings range from .3 to 2.5 for men below age 50. Normal ranges for men above age 50 and 60 may read as high as 4.7 and 8.3, respectively. Prostate blood test readings can register as high as 160. This usually indicates cancer.

 

Treatment for the disease is dependent upon the stage at diagnosis. It may include watching the disease or surgery to remove the prostate. A combination of therapies and surgery may be indicated for men who have higher risks of contracting cancer. Aggressive stages of the disease often include therapies to ease pain and provide comfort, making early detection the best treatment.This cancer is slow growing and often develops later in life. Therefore, it may not be the cause of death in older gentlemen. Today, medical advancements have given hope to many who are diagnosed every year. However, regular exams including blood tests that check PSA levels are vital for continued success.

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