110121 Prostate Problems 2/3
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Symptoms of Prostate Problems
See your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Need to get up many times during the night to urinate
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain or burning urination
- Painful ejaculation
- Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs
- Dribbling of urine
Prostate cancer is common among American men. Your chance of getting prostate cancer may be affected by your:
- Age. Men age 50 and older run a greater risk.
- Race. Prostate cancer is most common among African American men, followed by Hispanic and Native American men. Asian American men have the lowest rates of prostate cancer.
- Family history. If your father or brother had prostate cancer, you are more likely to develop it, too.
- Diet. The risk of prostate cancer may be higher for men who eat high-fat diets.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
To find out if prostate symptoms are caused by cancer, your doctor will ask about your past medical problems and your family’s medical history. Your doctor also will perform a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will put a gloved finger into your rectum to examine your prostate to check for:
- The size, firmness, and texture of the prostate
- Any hard areas, lumps, or growth spreading beyond the prostate
- Any pain caused by touching or pressing on the prostate
You may be asked to give a urine sample for testing. Your doctor also may do a blood test to check the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. PSA levels can be high in men with an enlarged prostate gland or with prostate cancer. You may also need an ultrasound exam that takes computer pictures of the prostate.
If tests show that you might have cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist (a urologist) for a prostate biopsy. The doctor will take small tissue samples from several areas of the prostate gland to look for cancer cells.
Treating Prostate Cancer
Treatment for prostate cancer depends on whether cancer is in part or all of the prostate, or if it has spread to other parts of the body. It also depends on your age and overall health. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment choice for you and the possible side effects of treatment. You may want to ask another doctor for a second opinion.
Treatment for prostate cancer may be:
- Watchful waiting, also called active surveillance. If the cancer is not causing problems, you may decide not to get treated right away. Instead, your doctor will check regularly for changes in your condition. Treatment may start if the cancer begins to grow.
- Surgery. The most common type of surgery removes the whole prostate and some nearby tissue.
- Radiation therapy. This treatment uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The radiation may come from an X-ray machine or from tiny radioactive pellets placed inside or near the tumor.
- Hormone therapy. Men having other treatments, like radiation therapy, also may be treated with drugs to stop the body from making testosterone. This is done if it seems likely that the cancer will come back. Hormone therapy also can be used for prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate.
For more details on treatment choices for prostate cancer, call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 800-422-6237 or visit their website.