Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. According to Cancer.org, about one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, with the average age of diagnosis being around 66 years old.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the U.S. but can be cured when detected early enough. It’s important for men to recognize the warning signs and the importance of screening. In its early stages, prostate cancer will not cause any symptoms, but when prostate cancer advances, it may cause noticeable changes such as:
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Slow or weak urinary stream
- Difficulty stopping or starting urination
- Need to urinate more frequently, especially at night
- Pain in the hip, chest, spine, or other areas if cancer has spread to the bones
- Enlarged prostate
- Unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting
- Pain or burning during urination
- Pain or burning during ejaculation
The risk for prostate cancer increases as you get older. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you should begin screenings at the age of 50. Those with a family history of prostate cancer should also begin talking to their doctor about screenings when they’re 45 years of age. The American Cancer Society also has observed that men of African ancestry have higher prostate cancer rates than other races and ethnicities.
What to Expect with Prostate Cancer Screening
Screening tests are recommended before symptoms appear and are used to look for possible signs of prostate cancer. The following are the common screening tests for prostate cancer:
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
PSA blood tests measure the levels of the protein made by cells in the prostate glands. Doctors use a scale to determine whether PSA levels are within the normal range. The higher the PSA levels, the higher the probability of having prostate cancer.
Unusually high PSA levels don’t always mean you have prostate cancer, however. Other factors can raise PSA levels, such as an enlarged prostate, older age, recent ejaculation, prostatitis, certain medications and urologic procedures. Taking male hormones such as testosterone, for example, may cause your PSA levels to spike. Before your screening, your doctor will likely ask you to abstain from ejaculating for one to two days prior to your PSA test.
Digital rectal exam (DRE)
If you have prostate cancer, you may have abnormal growth in the prostate. A doctor will look for any unusual bumps or hard areas on the prostate by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the patient’s rectum. They will use their finger to feel around the area, particularly the back part of the gland, where prostate cancers often begin.
At Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology we provide the latest in prostate cancer treatment, including radiation therapy seed implantation, also called brachytherapy. We are among the first in Florida to offer CyberKnife radiosurgery treatment for prostate cancer and this treatment is available at our Brandon facility.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about prostate cancer, surgery, and treatment options.