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