What are The Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
At its earliest stages, of the disease most men will not experience any symptoms. However, as the tumor develops the following symptoms could indicate its presence:
- A need to urinate frequently, specially at night.
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine.
- Weak, or interrupted flow of urine.
- Painful or burning urination.
- Difficulty in having an erection.
- Painful ejaculation during intercourse.
- Blood in urine or semen.
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Once there is a suspicion of prostate cancer from the DRE or the PSA, the following additional tests may be done to confirm the diagnosis:
- Urinalysis may show blood in the urine.
- Urine or prostatic fluid cytology may reveal abnormal cells.
- Prostate biopsy provides definitive diagnostic confirmation of prostate cancer.
- CT scans, bone scan and/or chest x-ray may be done to see if the cancer has spread to other organs and the extent of the spread.
What Are The Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer usually is suspected initially because of abnormal results of one or both of the screening tests that are used to detect prostate cancer. These screening tests are a digital rectal examination (DRE), and a blood test called the prostate specific antigen (PSA).
- During the digital rectal examination, the doctor examines (palpates) the prostate gland with his gloved index finger inserted through the anus to detect abnormalities in the gland.
- If the result of the digital rectal examination raises suspicion of the presence of prostate cancer, than a PSA test is recommended.
How is Prostate Cancer Treated?
The treatment options for prostate cancer vary based on the stage of the tumor. In the early stages, surgery and radiation therapy may be used to remove or kill the tumor.
Prostate cancer that has spread may be treated with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, or chemotherapy.
Surgery, radiation therapy and hormonal therapy, can all interfere with sexual desire or sexual performance on either a temporary or permanent basis. These types of concerns should be discussed with a health care provider.