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Symptoms of Prostate Cancer All Men Should Know

A patient with early prostate cancer may have symptoms like a frequent need to urinate, especially at night, difficulty in starting or stopping the urine stream, pain with urination or ejaculation, and blood in the urine or in the semen. It is best t

Men's Health By Ariba Khaliq / Dec 22, 2014

What is Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a serious disease that affects thousands of men during middle and late age, with most prostate cancers occurring in men over age 65. In 2013, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 239,000 American men will be diagnosed with this condition. The prostate is a small gland that is found in a man’s pelvic cavity. It is located under the bladder, and surrounds the urethra. This gland, which is regulated by the hormone testosterone, produces seminal fluid, also known as semen, which is the substance containing sperm that exits the urethra during ejaculation. When an abnormal, malignant growth of cells or tumour forms in the prostate, this is called prostate cancer. This cancer can spread to other areas of the body, but even if it does, it is still called prostate cancer.

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Causes and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Although the exact cause is unclear, certain risk factors increase the chance that prostate cancer may develop. These include: (a) ageing, (b) family history and genetic factors; if your father or brother had prostate cancer at a relatively early age (before they were 60) then you have an increased risk, (c) ethnic group; prostate cancer is more common in African-Caribbean men and less common in Asian men, (d) diet is possibly a risk factor; as with other cancers, a diet high in fats and low in fruit and vegetables may increase the risk, and (e) exposure to the metal cadmium may be a risk. Early prostate cancer often causes no symptoms. It may be found with a screening test such as a PSA blood test or a digital rectal exam. Know the symptoms of prostate cancer every man should know in the following slides.

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Delayed Start of Urine Stream

Problems with urinating could be a sign of advanced prostate cancer, but more often this problem is caused by a less serious disease known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). A slow start of urine stream that requires straining or additional force to expel urine out of the bladder is called hesitancy. This usually happens once the prostate gland begins to grow in size. If you have this condition, you may have trouble beginning to urinate or with maintaining the flow. It can occur in anyone at any age, but is most common in older men. In some cases, it may lead to urinary retention, which means being unable to urinate. This can be very serious.

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Dribbling or Leakage of Urine

Sometimes, the cancer growth may be aggressive causing an enlarged gland that presses against the urethra slightly. So every time you urinate, some amount of residual urine may be left behind in the bladder, which keeps dribbling. Bladder weakness, or urinary incontinence, is also experienced by many men following the surgery for prostate cancer. This is a common problem, however many men find this the biggest challenge they have to cope with during the recovery process. Incontinence will usually improve with time but by learning how to control the pelvic floor muscles, you can speed up the recovery process and reduce the leakage faster. If you don't strengthen these muscles, the leakage may persist.

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Inability to Empty the Bladder

If the urethra gets partially blocked due to the cancerous growth, all the urine may not be expelled. As the cancer progresses, inability to empty the bladder may also develop. As the prostate enlarges, the gland presses against and pinches the urethra. The bladder wall becomes thicker. Eventually, the bladder may weaken and lose the ability to empty completely, leaving some urine in the bladder. The narrowing of the urethra and urinary retention––the inability to empty the bladder completely––cause many of the problems associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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Blood in the Urine or Semen

The prostate gland is mainly responsible for production of fluid that serves as a swimming medium for sperms during ejaculation. When the cells in the gland become cancerous and proliferate, blood vessels may get damaged leading to bleeding. As a result, blood may be seen in urine and semen. Men age 40 or over have a higher risk of developing illnesses like prostate cancer. Because of this, you should tell your doctor any time you see blood in your semen. Your doctor will want to check for the cause of the blood as soon as possible.

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Frequent Urination

With some amount of residual urine in the bladder, you may feel a persistent urge to urinate. Other factors like irritation of the urethra due to alterations in kidney function may also increase the urge to urinate. Frequent urination is not the same as urinary incontinence, which is where there is no voluntary control of bladder function, reminiscent of the infant's involuntary reflex. However, urinary incontinence can be a cause of frequent urination, and/or the two can occur together.

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Pain in the Pelvic Region

Pain is a primary symptom in cancer patients, and in prostate cancer about 62% of patient experience excruciating pain. It worsens in case the cancerous cells spread and colonise in the vascular areas of the skeleton. Most of the times, men may experience pain during an orgasm, when the actual function of prostate gland comes into the picture. In some cases, persistent pain in the front and back pelvic region may occur.

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Sexual Symptoms

The prostate is part of the reproductive system and is located very close to nerves and other structures involved with sexual function, so prostate problems, including prostate cancer, can affect sexual function. Sexual symptoms include problems achieving erection, and painful ejaculation.

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Other Symptoms

Advanced prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body, especially the bones. These symptoms can indicate advanced prostate cancer swelling in legs, frequent pain in the thighs, hips, abdomen, or lower back, bone pain, fatigue or weakness, unexplained weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and reduced appetite.

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