Nearly 6,700 Men in Georgia will be Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer this Year

It is the second most common cancer in American men, behind skin cancer. However, more men with the disease are surviving than in years past because improving treatment plans are yielding better outcomes and enabling patients to continue having active, productive lives.

Screening

Not all men are appropriate candidates for screening. The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss the benefits and limitations of early detection beginning at age 50 if they are at average risk for the disease and beginning at age 45 if they are at high risk. Men at high risk include African-American men and men with a first-degree relative (father, brother, son), diagnosed at an early age (younger than age 65). Men who have several first-degree relatives who had prostate cancer at an early age should discuss the pros and cons of early screening with their physician beginning at age 40.

Symptoms

Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. Though, if caught early enough, chances of survival increase. But early detection is the key. Talk to your doctor if you experience of any of the following symptoms:

  • A need to urinate frequently
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, ribs or upper thighs
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Trouble having or keeping an erection (impotence)

Risk

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown but research indicates several common factors that may increase a man's risk of developing the disease:

  • Age: Most cases of prostate cancer occur in men age 50+. More than 60% of all diagnoses are in men over 65.
  • Race: African-American men are more likely than white men to develop the disease and are twice as likely to die from it.
  • Family History: Having two or more close relatives with prostate cancer also increases a man's risk.

Treatment

Every case of prostate cancer is different. A variety of treatment options are available, including hormone therapy, radiation and surgery. Which treatment is most appropriate varies from man to man and depends on his age and health, stage of the disease, and benefits and side effects of each treatment. In most cases, prostate cancer grows slowly. So men usually have time to consider all available treatment options, gather additional opinions and, with the help of their doctor, decide which option is best for them.