Prostate cancer affects a substantial number of men and is widely regarded as being the male equivalent that breast cancer is for women. In the United States in 2010, somewhere in the vicinity of 217,730 new cases were diagnosed and 32,050 deaths occurred as a result of prostate cancer.

Like all cancers, early detection is very important with prostate cancer. If diagnosed early, prostate cancer can usually be restricted to the prostate gland itself and a successful cure the outcome.

There are two standard tests used to diagnose prostate cancer: they are the prostate specific antigen (PSA) and the digital rectal examination (DRE). These tests are relatively effective in indicating any presence of prostate cancer.

All men need to be on the lookout for symptoms of prostate cancer particularly from the age of 50 onwards. However, in the case of younger men with a history of prostate cancer in their family there can be an even greater risk.

Is there a genetic risk? It appears there definitely is. Australian researchers recently made what is considered a break-through discovery. They have found that a gene causing breast cancer can also cause cancer of the prostate. This is significant because it will enable all men to determine whether they have a level of risk that is four-times greater than that of other men for developing the disease. It will also allow for closer monitoring of men in the higher risk group.

In Australia one in eleven men are forecast to develop prostate cancer by the age of 70. Like other cancers, the risk of prostate cancer increases substantially after the age of 50. The Australian research has also shown that a family history of breast or ovarian cancer can increase the risk of prostate cancer in males from that same family.

The symptoms of prostate cancer are relatively unique because of the location of the gland itself which is below the bladder in the region of the lower pelvis. The four main symptoms of prostate cancer are as follows:

Increased frequency of urination beyond what is normal
A sensation that you constantly have to urinate immediately
The need to urinate on many occasions during the night
A difficulty in beginning urination and no consistent flow when urinating

These symptoms usually point to an enlarged prostate gland pressing against the urethra.

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