Although prostate cancer is rare before age 40, it’s important for men of all ages to be aware of its symptoms, because it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. If you recognize the signs early and come in to see Mark J. Kelly, MD, in Santa Monica, California, you’ll have a much better chance of treating it successfully.
Early detection of prostate cancer
You may be able to detect prostate cancer before symptoms develop if you undergo a screening. We perform screenings with a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. However, there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules about whether you should get an early screening.
The American Cancer Society recommends that you consider getting a PSA screening by age 40-50, depending on your risk. Regarding getting an early screening, the American Cancer Society doesn’t say you should or shouldn’t. It leaves that decision up to men and their doctors, because the PSA test can produce confusing and nonspecific results. For example, noncancerous conditions, such as prostatitis, can cause a PSA test to be high.
The best approach is to come in and talk with me about your medical history and risk factors. I can give you guidance on when you should consider getting a prostate cancer screening, and I can help interpret the results when you get it.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
The severity of your symptoms will depend on where the cancer is located in your prostate and how much it has progressed. When you start to develop prostate cancer symptoms, you’ll experience one or more of the following:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Blood in your urine
Erectile and ejaculatory symptoms
- Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in your semen
- Decreased volume of ejaculation
Lower body symptoms
- Frequent pain or stiffness in your lower back, hips, or upper thighs
- Swelling in your lower extremities
- Bone pain in your legs
Keep in mind that these symptoms can also be signs of a problem that isn’t cancerous. However, if you have a combination of swelling in your lower extremities together with urinary, erectile, or ejaculation problems, then there’s a higher chance the symptoms are related to cancer.
Risk factors for prostate cancer
Currently, only a few key risk factors have been identified. Age is important, because your risk rises after age 50. And your chance of developing prostate cancer more than doubles if you have a father or brother with the disease.
Your diet may have a small influence on the disease. It turns out that men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products may have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
On the other hand, men who eat a lot of red meat also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. It’s possible that the lack of fruits and vegetables has a larger impact than the consumption of red meat.
To learn more about detecting and treating prostate cancer, book an appointment online or over the phone with Mark J. Kelly, MD today.