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Prostate Cancer Symptoms, Risks, and Test
If you have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, or if you are concerned that you might have it, you should be aware of its symptoms.
Prostate is viewed as one of the most serious and frequently returning kinds of disease to be found in men in the United States. It can generally start without indicating any apparent symptoms at first. As indicated by the American Cancer Society, one out of nine men is in danger of building up this sort of malignant growth once during their lifetime. Prostate malignancy can be both aggressive (spreading outside the gland and causing harm) and placid, which indicates moderate development. So now, let’s look at the various symptoms of prostate cancer, ranging from early-stage to late-stage signs.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms – Early, Advanced, and Recurrent Signs
As referenced before, the prostate malignancy will, for the most part, give practically zero indications explicitly during the beginning period. The manifestations may change for every person. It is imperative to understand that a significant number of symptoms can also be present because of other underlying diseases. You can schedule a screening test, which is often through a rectal examination to look for the prospects of an abnormality – if there is any.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?
An uncurbed production of cells in the prostate gland of males is called prostate cancer, which is accompanied by a host of varying symptoms.
The prostate is essentially one of the fundamental parts of the male reproductive system; the other is what’s called seminal vesicles. The prime use of both these organs in a man is to help in the production of the semen, which at a point then goes into the urethra. The urethra is functional for carrying the urine from the bladder and out of the body of a man through his penis. This is the reason you may confront trouble while urinating if your prostate has expanded in size.
Since the urethra and the prostate glands lie near one another, and the urethra’s primary responsibility is urinary functions – many symptoms of prostate cancer can merely be underlying urinary issues (infections). The malignancy of the tumor may expand and squeeze the urethra, thus disrupting the urine flux. The phase of malignant growth itself can fluctuate now since it would be contingent upon where in the body the tumor is developing and what size it has reached. Some early signs signifying the advancement of prostate cancer can include the following:
- A burning sensation or sharp pain while urinating
- Issues during urination – especially in starting or stopping the flow
- Recurring need to urinate at nighttime
- Little or no control of the bladder
- Bleeding during urination
- Blood in semen
- Issues with having an erection or a complete failure of having one (erectile dysfunction)
- Irritating or sore ejaculation (abnormally painful in some cases)
If It Spreads – Advanced Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
As we discussed before, this type of cancer has malignant properties, and due to close proximity to the gland where it is formed with other organs, it can spread in severe cases. The metastatic tumor can grow and spread to bones or even the spine thrusting on the spinal nerves. The signs of severity may show through the following:
- Swollen legs and the pelvic
- Numbing of the hips, feet, and legs
- Pain in feet, hips, or legs
- Mulish ache in bones – which can also cause fractures.
Recurrent Prostate Cancer Symptoms
If prostate cancer has been treated once, and it happens to regenerate, then it is called recurrent prostate cancer. The re-emergence may not be specific to the gland only. But if it does grow again close to the prostate only, it is then categorized as local recurrence. It is also likely that this cancer reappears in some other part of the body – it is then called metastatic. The growth outside the prostate will most likely be in the lymph nodes. The most common metastatic occurrences of prostate cancer are in bones, liver or the lungs.
This is an instance where a patient probably has already undergone treatment, after which PSA levels drop to a very low degree. And that is why the first thing to signal the recurrence would be a change specifically an increase in levels of PSA. Other symptoms may vary depending on the position of cancer in the body. The rest of the signs may include:
- Blood in urine
- Problems while urinating (disruption to the flow)
- Pain in the lower back
- Lethargy or exhaustion
- Respiratory struggle
What Is PSA and PSA Test?
The cells inside the prostate gland produce a protein called Prostate- Specific Antigen (PSA). The prime function of this protein is to keep the semen in a healthy liquid condition such that the sperms easily swim in it.
A PSA test is one of the most frequently used testing tools when it comes to prostate cancer screening. It is simply a blood sample test which will detect the levels of PSA circulation inside your body. Other than being a common approach to diagnose prostate cancer, it is also used to keep track of cancer treatments, including radiations, chemo, hormone therapy, and so on. An escalation in the levels of PSA may also be a signal to conditions which are not necessarily cancerous, such as inflammation or augmentation of the prostate gland.
For the past practices so far, a level reading 4ng/ml or less has been rated normal. Those men who have their results notifying values above the standard may have prostate cancer and would usually be advised to get a biopsy for confirmation. Research has shown that men who developed prostate cancer may have lower levels of PSA. On the other hand, the ones who did not have cancer can show a higher level of PSA. One out of four men with higher levels of PSA will be confirmed to have prostate cancer.
How Can I Check Myself for Prostate Cancer?
For a disease that is the second most fatal cancer in men, its symptoms are not very apparent. It can be quite a task to detect the presence of prostate cancer, unless it becomes enormous and presses on the urethra, thus causing trouble in its regular functions. As discussed before, what you may suffer through in prostate cancer can be just another urinary abnormality too. Knowing the risks is how you can make it a little easier for yourself.
Since PSA testing has been controversial over the years – it was only recently that a new way of testing yourself at home was developed. The East Anglia, Norfolk, and Norwich University’s science management departments collaborated to invent what’s called a PUR test. You can now simply test the possibility of having prostate cancer by collecting your first urine of the day and sending it for an examination. The results have proven to show more biomarkers of prostate cancer (if present) than what is visible after a digital rectal exam.
PUR test is more of a diagnostic where the level of prostate malignancy can be detected. It can save you a lot of time of surveillance that is usually a requirement when a patient is undergoing tumor development. So, if you’re facing any of the symptoms mentioned before specifically related to urine problems – do a PUR test collection and home and get it tested to be on the safe side.
What Can Prostate Cancer Feel Like?
Fatigue: This can be both because of the treatment or the presence of cancer itself. The process has a mental and an emotional toll as well, so it is important to keep a check on your therapy, diet, physical activity and sleeping routine.
Pain: You may feel severe or no pain depending on the location of the tumor. A stinging pain is characteristic specifically to when the cancer is spread in the bones. This may weaken them, making them vulnerable to fractures or soreness. So, if you are wondering if prostate cancer hurts, the answer is yes. However, the degree of severity can vary. The sensations can be burning, stabbing, tingling, or numbing.
Issues in Bowel Movement: This includes constipation, diarrhea, the urgency to excrete feces, or no control over fecal excretion – thus causing leakage.
Lack of Sexual Drive: Prostate cancer in men affects a body part that is deemed very personal. The inactivity signals aging, which is a source of stress, but it is actually more than that. One of the signs of prostate cancer is erectile dysfunction – the odds of which are elevated after getting treatment for this cancer. Androgen Deprivation Therapy is when this cancer is ought to be treated by decreasing the levels of testosterone, and that can affect your sex life adversely.
Mobility Discomfort: Lymphoedema is the condition in which cancer infects lymph nodes. The blockage in the lymph system this way causes soreness and swelling in the pelvis and legs, including the scrotum. Extreme inflammation and tightness of skin can lead to a lack of mobility and difficulty in doing other day-to-day chores.
Loss of Appetite: This usually occurs in the aftermath of the stress of treatment or prostate cancer itself. This can cause weakness and unhealthy loss of weight. Some people may be advised to use steroids to help stimulate the urge to eat more.
Who Can Be More at Risk?
13 out of 100 men in America have a risk of developing prostate cancer at some point and time in their lives, and at least two of these men may die of it. The main risk factor is just being a man. However, some of the characteristics are specific, and they may include these:
- If you are African American
- If you are 50 years old or above
- If any of your immediate family members has a history of having this disease
- If you consume a diet with high amounts of saturated fats, or if you are obese
- If you have developed very high levels of testosterone
What to Do if You Are Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer?
Aforementioned is evidence that cancer of this kind may not be detected until it starts causing ultimate damage. It is important to know your options. Be sure to consult your doctor as soon as you suspect that you or a loved one may have cancer. Having routine checkups are of immense importance, as they can help you catch the disease early.
If you are in the late stages of prostate cancer, let All American Hospice shoulder some of your burden. We offer 24/7 home service and palliative care to help ease the draining process of being diagnosed with cancer.