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Prostate Cancer - Warning Signs

Prostate cancer in its early stages shows little signs and symptoms, to none at all.

The prostate is the gland below a man's bladder that produces fluid for semen. Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages. It is rare in men younger than 40.

Levels of a substance called prostate specific antigen (PSA) is often high in men with prostate cancer. However, PSA can also be high with other prostate conditions. Since the PSA test became common, most prostate cancers are found before they cause symptoms. Symptoms of prostate cancer may include

Prostate cancer treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer. How fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue helps determine the stage. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer.

The prostate is a gland. It helps make semen, the fluid that contains sperm. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine away from the bladder and out of the body. A young man's prostate is about the size of a walnut. It slowly grows larger with age. If it gets too large, it can cause problems. This is very common after age 50. The older men get, the more likely they are to have prostate trouble.

Some common problems are:

Choosing a treatment option involves the patient, his family, and one or more doctors. They will need to consider the grade and stage of the cancer, the man’s age and health, and his values and feelings about the potential benefits and harms of each treatment option. Since both surgery and radiation therapy are options for localized disease, consultation with both a urologist and a radiation oncologist is recommended. Often it is useful to seek additional opinions from the same type of doctor, an internist, a family practice physician, or a medical oncologist.

Because there are several reasonable options for most patients, patients may hear different opinions and recommendations and the decision can be difficult. However, patients should try to get as much information as possible and allow themselves enough time to make a decision. There is rarely a need to make a decision without taking time to discuss and understand the pros and cons of the various approaches.