Following a well-balanced diet, managing stress, and exercising are all important steps to live a healthy lifestyle. However, certain illnesses and diseases may develop even while following most doctor's recommendations. Cancer of the prostate is a serious disease that affects a large portion of men each year. Considering 1 out of every 7 men will develop prostate cancer, understanding this disease is imperative. You may feel you understand this disease, but most people are familiar with myths that are becoming more and more common. With this guide, you will understand the truth behind a few common misconceptions about prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Affects Old Men
One of the most common myths regarding this form of cancer is that it only affects old men. This is a misconception that needs to be addressed, since many younger men forego tests and screenings that could save their lives.
An estimated 97 percent of all cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 50. However, cancer of the prostate is a problem for men of all ages, even though it is important to note that the risk increases with age.
If you have a father, brother, or son with a history of prostate cancer, you are at risk of developing the disease, as well. No matter what your age, you should notify your doctor if a first-degree family member has had the disease so proper testing can be completed.
Prostate Cancer Has No Symptoms
Most cancers will show some signs or symptoms, but the symptoms of prostate cancer make the disease difficult to diagnose. While surprising to learn, symptoms will not always be noticeable. Unless your cancer is at a later stage, you may not even realize you have the disease.
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately:
- Urge to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty stopping or starting urination
- Weak flow or urination
- Burning, pain, or discomfort while urinating
- Struggling to achieve or maintain an erection
- Pain and discomfort during ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain in the back, thighs, hips, or pelvis area
Many of these symptoms could stem from another, less severe medical condition, so it is important to not panic. However, notifying your doctor of these symptoms will ensure efficient testing that can lead to early and effective treatment.
Low PSA Means You Cannot Develop Prostate Cancer
A blood test, known as a PSA, is the first diagnostic tool your doctor will recommend if you are experiencing any signs of prostate cancer. This blood test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen, which is a protein produces by the cells of the prostate.
Elevated levels of PSA could signify a few things including prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate, or inflammation of the prostate. Unfortunately, other factors can cause your PSA levels to be high.
If you were recently cauterized for surgery, had a urinary tract infection, or are sexually active, your PSA levels may be higher than normal. Sports injuries, excessive use of a bike, and even some supplements can increase PSA levels.
While a high PSA is a sign that you require further testing, a low PSA does not mean you are cancer free. If you are experiencing symptoms or have a family history of the disease, talk to your doctor about a biopsy of the prostate to rule out cancer.
Prostate cancer is a serious condition that deserves your attention. Thankfully, proper understanding and early diagnosis can help you recover from this disease. With this guide and your doctor's help, you will understand common myths about prostate cancer that could end up saving your life.