How to detect prostate cancer

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut. It is located under the bladder and surrounds the urinary tract. For men, the prostate is essential for the production of sperm and consequently for reproduction. In Canada, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. It generally evolves slowly and can often be successfully cured or treated.

It’s never easy to talk about sensitive issues such as cancer. Yet, being aware of this reality may prevent certain problems. Some cancers, such as prostate cancer, have a better prognosis when they are detected and treated as early as possible. Here is some information on the subject that will allow you to make the right choices for your health. 

Doctor, I have trouble passing urine!

Some symptoms may suggest prostate cancer. Here are the ones to watch out for:

  • the need to urinate more often
  • urgent need to urinate
  • difficulty starting urine flow
  • poor or interrupted stream of urine
  • sensation of not having emptied the bladder entirely
  • pain or burning sensation when passing urine
  • traces of blood in the urine or sperm
  • pain during ejaculation, and
  • back pain

Having these symptoms does not necessarily indicate the presence of prostate cancer, since other diseases may include similar symptoms. If you have some of these symptoms or any other unusual ones, speak to your doctor who will be able to make a complete health evaluation.

How to detect prostate cancer

Rubber gloves and a blood test…

Prostate cancer screening can be done using two complementary tests. First, the doctor may do a rectal examination. This slightly unpleasant procedure allows the doctor to feel the prostate to detect any unusual changes in size or texture.

Moreover, a blood test helps to detect rising PSA levels or Prostate Specific Antigen. These two tests are not always done on all patients, but are often recommended:

  • Starting from 50 years of age among men who have a life expectancy of at least 10 years
  • Starting from 40 years of age among black men
  • Starting from 40 years of age among men whose father and/or brother have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer

If the doctor suspects cancer, he/she may want to pass other complementary tests, such as a transrectal ultrasonography or a biopsy of the prostate. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, the doctor may decide to only observe the cancer’s evolution instead of beginning treatment.

This decision may seem surprising, but this type of cancer generally develops slowly and a regular follow-up is made to administer treatment at the appropriate time if this becomes necessary. For other patients, drug therapies will be initiated, indicating that prostate cancer treatment may vary significantly.

The virtues of prevention

The presence of prostate cancer in family members increases your risk of developing it as well, but this fact is beyond your control. However, certain lifestyle changes may keep this disease at bay. In this regard, try to avoid:

  • a diet that is rich in fat
  • excessive amounts of red meat or processed meat
  • excessive quantities of milk products, and
  • cigarette smoke

The best way to limit the consequences of prostate cancer on your life is early detection. See your doctor regularly and watch for signs or symptoms suggesting its presence.

The virtues of prevention
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How to detect prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is quite frequent; fortunately, it can be cured when it is detected quickly. Learn more about it, to better recognize it.
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