Men’s Guide to Prostate Changes, Part 3: Prostate Cancer
Based on the “Understanding Prostate
Changes: A Health Guide for Men” page
National Cancer Institute
Edited (with Introduction) by Dr. Don Rose, Writer,
This article discusses many prostate-related
topics, ranging from the basics (what it is) to information about prostate changes
that happen with age (common changes, how they are treated,
and what one needs to know about testing for prostate changes, including cancer).
Since negative changes become more likely the older we get,
this information is especially relevant for
senior citizens. (The article is broken up into five segments. This is part
3.) --Dr. Don Rose
Prostate cancer means that
cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate. It is the most common cancer in
American men after skin cancer. Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly compared with
most other cancers. Cell changes may begin 10, 20, or 30 years before a tumor gets
big enough to cause symptoms. Eventually, cancer cells may spread (metastasize) throughout the body. By the
time symptoms appear, the cancer may be more advanced.
By age 50, very few men have
symptoms of prostate cancer, yet some
cancerous cells are present. More than half of all American men have some cancer
in their prostate glands by the age of 80.
Most of these cancers never
pose a problem. They either give no signs or symptoms or never become a serious
threat to health.
A much smaller percentage
of men are actually treated for prostate cancer. Most men with prostate cancer do
not die from this disease.
About 16 percent of American men are diagnosed
with prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
Eight percent have serious symptoms.
Three percent die of the disease.
Prostate cancer can sit quietly
for years. That means most men with the disease have no obvious symptoms. When symptoms
finally appear, they may be a lot like the symptoms of BPH.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
urge to pass urine, especially at night
interrupted urine stream
burning when passing urine
in the urine or semen
pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
Prostate cancer can spread
of the pelvis. Or it may spread throughout the body. It tends to spread to the bones.
So bone pain, especially in the back, can be another symptom.
There are some risk factors
linked to prostate cancer. A risk factor is something that can raise your chances
of having a problem or disease. Having one or more risk factors doesn't mean that
you will get prostate cancer. It just means that your risk of disease is greater.
Age. Being 50 or older increases risk of prostate cancer.
Race. African-American men are at highest risk of prostate cancer
-- it tends to start at younger ages and grow faster than in men of other races.
After African-American men, it is most common among white men, followed by Hispanic
and Native American men. Asian-American men have the lowest rates of prostate cancer.
Aside from race, all men can have other prostate cancer risk factors (aging, family
history, and diet).
Family history. Prostate cancer risk is 2 to 3 times higher for men whose
fathers or brothers have had the disease. For example, risk is about 10 times higher
for a man who has 3 immediate family members with prostate cancer. The younger a
man is when he has prostate cancer, the greater the risk for his male family members.
Prostate cancer risk also appears to be slightly higher for men whose mothers or
sisters have had breast cancer.
Diet. The risk of prostate cancer seems to be higher for men eating
high-fat diets with few fruits and vegetables.
National research studies
are looking at how prostate cancer can be prevented. There is some proof that the
drug finasteride lowers your risk of getting prostate cancer, but whether it decreases
the risk of dying of prostate cancer is still unclear.
Cancer Information Service (toll-free)
Telephone: 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237)
NCI’s Web site:
NCI’s live online assistance:
For more information
about Medicare benefits, contact:
National Kidney and Urologic
Diseases Information Clearinghouse
This article is based on the webpage “Understanding Prostate
Changes: A Health Guide for Men”
National Cancer Institute
website. The information provided here is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable
and accurate. However, while Life
always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee
100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and
use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions
and making decisions.
Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles
on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.
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