Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in U.S. men. It is estimated that 180,890 men will hear the words “You have prostate cancer” in 2016. Fortunately when diagnosed early, prostate cancer can be treated effectively and nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed today will be alive in five years.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that begins in cells, which are the building blocks that make up all tissue and organs of the body, including the prostate. Normal cells grow, divide, and die on a regular schedule. Sometimes something goes wrong with this process and the cells don’t die as they should and instead, create a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign, meaning not cancer, or malignant, meaning cancer.
Most prostate cancer grows very slowly with many men never knowing they have the disease. However, some prostate cancers are aggressive and will spread beyond the prostate to other parts of the body such as the bones, lymph nodes, and lungs.
All men are at risk of developing prostate cancer and certain factors have been identified to increase a man’s chances of developing the disease.
- Age – almost all prostate cancer occurs in men 50 and over
- Race – African American men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease
- Family History – father, brother, or a son
- Diet – eating large amounts of animal fat can increase risk
- Chemicals – exposure to Agent Orange and other pesticides
- Gene Changes – certain genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
Symptoms and Detection
Most men do not have symptoms of early stage prostate cancer. Some symptoms can be mistaken for other disorders such as frequent or painful urination, hesitation to start or continue urinating, blood in the urine, and painful ejaculation. Common symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include pelvic or back pain, leg weakness, anemia, and weight loss.
It is important to understand your personal risk and talk with your doctor about routine testing. Early detection saves lives.
For more information, visit ZeroCancer.