prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Ways to Check Early Signs

Dr. Abdullah
20 Oct 2018
 4.51 Vote(s)
Visits: 11078

Prostate cancer occurs only among men. It begins when cells in prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. Prostate gland produces seminal fluids that nourish and transports sperms. Find out how prostate cancer screening, its symptoms, and early signs, are conclusive during early stages.

Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in men. Prostate gland found in a man’s lower abdomen produces seminal fluid called semen that exits the urethra during ejaculation.

Initially, the symptoms of this cancer are not visible, it is usually found through DRE or PSA Test. Men with advancing age are at a greater risk of developing this type of cancer that targets their prostate gland. Prostate cancer grows very slowly and confines itself to the gland where it may not cause any serious harm. If the cancer is detected early, then it becomes easy to treat it. Early diagnosis is helpful in finding out about the cancer before it spreads to the surrounding areas. Prostate cancer screening is the best way to find out if you are suffering from one.

Early Signs at the Onset of Prostate Cancer and During the Later Stages

It is very difficult to detect the presence of Prostate cancer due to absence of early signs and symptoms. If you have noticed any changes in the way you urinate, this is more likely to be a sign of an enlarged prostate or another problem. Prostate cancer may cause following signs and symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Presence of blood in urine
  • Pain during urination and sometimes during ejaculation
  • Problem in achieving and maintaining erection

Advanced prostate cancer may have some or all of the below mentioned signs and symptoms:

  • Pain in bones like femur, spine, pelvis, ribs etc.
  • Frequent fractures

In case of a compressed spinal cord, following may also be experienced:

  • Weakness in legs
  • Numbness or pain in hips and other adjoining joints
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Urinary incontinence

Populations & Age Groups with a Risk to Develop Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is very rare among men under the age group of 40-45 years while men under the age group of 50-55 years are highly vulnerable to prostate cancer. According to a recent research, one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Men who have reached 80 years have prostate cancer cells in their prostate. Besides this, there are a number of factors that can be responsible for the emergence of this cancer in men such as age, race and family history. The risk increases significantly once men have crossed the age of 50 and 40 in case of black men. The older the patient, the less aggressive the cancer becomes while men under the age group of 60-65 experience more aggression. African American men, gay men and some veterans may be at a heightened risk for negative outcomes with prostate cancer. Given below is the percentage of risk for men of different regions:

  • 4.2% for African American men
  • 2.9% for Hispanic men
  • 2.3% for white men
  • 2.1% for Asian and Pacific Islander men

Screening of Prostate Cancer

One of the best way to detect prostate cancer is through screening. Make sure you visit a doctor if you are going through any one of the above symptoms. Doctors know when some cells in your prostrate are growing abnormally. The cancer-screening test begins by testing Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) protein in the bloodstream. PSA helps to identify the presence of cancer cells and when treatment should be done.

Higher readings of PSA indicate the possibility of having a prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate or inflammation in gland. PSA screening is usually encouraged by doctors for men between the age group of 50-70 and for those men who are at an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Advantages of Early Detection and Treatment

Undergoing an advanced screening test helps in identifying high-risk, localized prostate cancer that can be treated at the right time to avoid mortality linked to advanced and metastatic prostate cancer. PSA based screening programs are beneficial for men aged between 55 to 69 years. It can prevent deaths from both prostate cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. In case of African American men aged between 55 to 69 years with a family history of prostate cancer, they can benefit differently from the average population when it comes to early detection of cancer. Also, there isn’t any evidence to assess if it is beneficial for the high-risk population to be screened prior to the age of 55 years. Apart from these, there is apparently no benefit of PSA-based screening on prostate cancer mortality in men aged 70 years and above.

Disadvantages of Early Detection & Treatment

Early detection and treatment of prostate cancer can sometimes create a false alarm and you may need to go for unnecessary medications. Some of the disadvantage of early detection and treatment are given blow:

  • False positive results 
  • Psychological harms
  • Complications associated with prostate biopsy like pain, infection and, hematospermia (blood in semen)
  • Over diagnosis: PSA based screening could result in the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men who could have not shown a symptom throughout their lives hence, treatment in such men can be harmful. Usually, 20% to 50% of men detected with prostate cancer may be over diagnosed.
  • Erectile dysfunction, bowel symptoms and urinary incontinence. For men who go through radical prostatectomy tend to experience urinary incontinence. Therefore, it is very important to analyze your screening carefully and take medications based on the screening results. Make sure you consult the right doctor and follow his advice.

Risk Assessment

The most common risk factors associated with prostate cancer is old age, obesity, unhealthy diet, African American race, and genetic background. Other factors that are equally or lesser risky include consuming foods rich in fats, eating less vegetable and smoking.

Preventing Prostate Cancer

There are certain factors that can reduce the risks of developing prostate cancer and they are:

  • Supplements: According to various studies Vitamin E and selenium are proven to be protecting against prostate cancer but there is no sufficient evidence if it works on all men.
  • Medications: Finasteride (Proscar) is proven to decrease the risk of prostate cancer in men by as low as 25 %. Men who are diagnosed with finasteride showed better improvements as compared to the once who took a placebo (an artificial pill that has no medicinal effects). Also, it is unclear if the finasteride medicine should be given to men who have high risk of prostate cancer.

Recommendations for Screening

There are some organizations that do not endorse routine serum PSA screening for early detection of prostate cancer. While there are others that recommend regular screening for the same. As of now, it is difficult to determine if the benefits of the screening exceed the risks connected to the treatment. 
Most of the men with prostate cancer are usually advised to have a detailed discussion with their doctors about their particular cases in order to avail the best possible treatment available for them.

The necessity of prostate cancer screening should be considered based on individual cases and other factors associated with it. For those who choose to get screened, the ideal age is of 50 years, while for men who are at the higher risk of prostate cancer, the ideal age for screening is 45 years. If more than one male member in the family is diagnosed with prostate cancer, then it is recommended to get the prostate cancer screening at the age of 40. These men should also get an annual digital rectal exam done, irrespective of the PSA level they may have.

It is extremely important for men to be cautious about their health during their early 50’s because their prostates are more vulnerable to develop cancer. We hope you are now well informed about the importance of knowing symptoms and early diagnosis of prostate cancer. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and feel that you should visit a doctor, feel free to reach us at +918929020600. For more updates and information follow Elacancer blog.


Dr. Abdullah

About the Author

Radiation Oncologist
Dr. Abdullah is a Radiation Oncologist practicing at Dr. Rai Memorial Medical Centre located at Teynampet, Chennai. Dr. Abdullah specializes in General Medical Consultation, Radiation Therapy, Mastectomy treatment, Lumpectomy surgery, Pelvic lymph node dissection, Tissue expansion surgery, Dissection Myotherapt, Hysterectomy surgery and Laparotomy procedures. Dr. Abdullah also specializes in Retroperitoneal lymph node, Lymph node dissection, Craniotomy Surgery, Radiotherapy and Flap surgery procedures. He has completed his MBBS from Madras Medical College, Chennai in the year 2008 and Diploma in Medical Radiotherapy (DMRT) from Madras Medical College, Chennai in the year 2014. Further, he pursued DNB in Radiotherapy from National Board of Examinations in 2017. Dr. Abdullah has a practicing experience of about a decade in the field of oncology treatments which yield high-success rates. Dr. Abdullah is presently practicing as a Medical Oncologist at Dr. Rai Memorial Medical Centre, an Oncology Centre situated in Chennai. Book your FREE appointment with Dr. Abdullah at Elacancer.com.
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