Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer occurring in men. The prostate is a gland which is found only in males and is a part of the male reproductive system. This gland exists surrounding the urethra, which is a tube that functions to carry urine and semen out of the body. So, any change in the structure of the prostate or a prostate tumour can affect urine control or output.
Men, whose diet is marked by a heavy intake of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats, may be at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer which is detected early, when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland, has a better chance of successful treatment. So, if you are aware of the early signs of prostate cancer, it may help you receive early and successful treatment. Here, we list some of the early signs of prostate cancer.
- You may experience burning sensation or pain during urination due to the prostate pressing on to the urethra.
- Difficulty in urination or trouble in starting and stopping while urinating
- More frequent urges to urinate at night
- Loss of bladder control
- Interrupted or weak urine flow. Or, you may need to strain to empty the bladder
- Blood in urine which is also known as hematuria
- Blood in semen
- Difficulty in getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain or discomfort while sitting resulting due to an enlarged prostate.
If you happen to experience or notice any of the above-mentioned signs, do visit a urologist and get yourself examined. The symptoms of prostate cancer may be different for each man, and any one of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions too. So, routine check-ups and screenings in the form of prostate-specific androgen (PSA) tests and digital rectal exams are crucial.
The tests which may be recommended by your urologist are mentioned below.
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): A lubricated, gloved finger is inserted into the rectum to feel the prostate. A DRE can sometimes detect an enlarged prostate, lumps or nodules of prostate cancer or tenderness due to prostatitis.
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA): The prostate produces a protein known as PSA, whose measure can be found by a blood test. If the measure of PSA is high, there is a high risk of prostate cancer, however, an enlarged prostate too may result in a high PSA.
- Prostate Ultrasound (Transrectal Ultrasound): In this screening, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum in order to bring it close to the prostate.
- Prostate Biopsy: In this test, tissue is taken out to examine it for prostate cancer by inserting a needle into the prostate. Usually, this is performed through the rectum.
If not controlled at the initial stages, prostate cancer may spread to the nearby tissues or bones.
There are also cases of recurrent prostate cancer. This may be ruled by PSA level in blood, as a rise in PSA levels may be the first sign of the recurrence of prostate cancer. So, carrying out PSA tests regularly is very important for checking the signs of recurrence and measuring the progress of the treatment.
Make sure you follow a healthy diet which is rich in fruits and vegetables, perform exercises regularly, and maintain a healthy weight to keep prostate cancer at bay.
Learning the early onset signs and symptoms of prostate cancer may help prevent invasive cancer treatment or help in making simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can nip it in the bud.
So, if you happen to experience any of these signs or symptoms any time, consult your doctor or urologist for the correct diagnosis and effective treatment for prostate cancer in the bud, if it’s diagnosed.
-Written By Dr. Chetali, Associate Doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah