The prostate gland is located at the base of the bladder and encircles the upper part of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The primary function of the prostate gland is to manufacture semen, the fluid that carries sperm. Prostate Cancer is therefore only found in men and develops through the growth of abnormal cells in the prostate. Prostate Cancer Symptoms only show up after the onset of the disease. This is a fairly common across-the-board phenomenon with most cancers and one must learn to tread the middle ground between healthy diligence and paranoia.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
As pointed out earlier Prostate Cancer Symptoms are largely absent at the early stages of the disease. Urinary problems, which may increase in intensity over time, are the early warning signs that may indicate the presence of localised Prostate Cancer. This refers to the situation where the cancer is still confined to the prostate itself. These urinary problems may include difficulty in starting to urinate followed by a weak flow. An increase in the need to pass urine more frequently (every couple of hours for example) could point to the early stages of Prostate Cancer. Straining to pass urine and a feeling of not completely emptying the bladder may also be early indicators of the inception of this cancer. A pressing need to urinate, and sometimes not making it to the toilet in time, is another early warning sign that one should be on the lookout for. A persistent dribble, even when one has ‘finished’ and pain when passing urine could well be indicators of the presence of this most dreaded of cancers among men. Hematuria (the presence of blood in urine) is also one of the urinary complications associated with Prostate Cancer.
Different combinations of these symptoms may be caused by other medical conditions other than Prostate Cancer such as Prostatitis (swelling and inflammation of the Prostate) or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia which refers to the condition of an enlarged prostate gland whose effect is to squeeze or partially block the urethra occasioning pain when urinating. These two conditions are non-cancerous but could easily lead one to jump to the wrong conclusion. This is why early screening is crucial in identifying the underlying causes of any symptoms.
A Digital Rectum Examination (DRE), which most men would shun out of a perhaps understandable sense of propriety, enables your doctor to, among other things, gauge the size of your prostate (typically the size of a walnut) and probably save you years of agony and treatment.
Prostate Cancer may (as is the propensity with most cancers) spread to nearby tissues or bones. Erectile dysfunction coupled with a painful ejaculation may point to the inception of the second stage of the disease. At this point the presence of blood in the semen may also be a sign of the spread of the disease. Persistent bone pain that may lead to fractures could also be an indication that the disease has metastasised. At this point spinal pain, occasioned by the cancer pressing on the spinal nerves is not uncommon. Pelvic, leg and hip pain are further signs of the spread of this cancer. Swelling in the legs and pelvic area should also not be ignored at this (or indeed any other) juncture.
It must be emphasised however that these symptoms, taken singly or in groups, may well be indicators of other medical conditions. A visit to the doctor will help allay any fears or at least identify the malady and allow the commencement of appropriate treatment immediately.
Your physician will refer you to a Urologist in the event that the symptoms displayed point to the presence of Prostate Cancer. This specialist will be able to advise on the various options available to you to hopefully rid yourself of this disease.
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