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Prostate Cancer Symptoms – What to Look For


Prostate cancer is a significant health concern for men worldwide. It is the second most common cancer among men after skin cancer. Understanding prostate cancer symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options is crucial for early detection and effective management. At KCUC, we specialize in urology and oncology, so we know the ins and outs of prostate cancer. Here you will get a comprehensive overview of prostate cancer, what symptoms to look for, who is most at risk, what to do if you suspect you have symptoms, and a little bit about available treatment options including proton therapy, the latest radiation weapon in the battle against cancer.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Prostate cancer affects millions of men globally. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Despite these high numbers, the survival rates for prostate cancer are generally favorable, especially when detected early. The five-year relative survival rate for localized prostate cancer is nearly 100%, highlighting the importance of early diagnosis. Each man’s risk of prostate cancer can vary, based on his age, race/ethnicity, and other factors.

Who Is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?

Several factors can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Understanding these can help in assessing personal risk:

  • Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases significantly with age. It is rare in men under 40, but the likelihood rises rapidly after age 50.
  • Family History: A family history of prostate cancer can double the risk. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of developing the disease.Race/Ethnicity: African American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer compared to men of other races. They are also more likely to develop the disease at a younger age and have more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
  • Genetics: Certain genetic mutations, such as those found in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, are associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.
  • Diet and Lifestyle: A diet high in red meat and high-fat dairy products may increase the risk, while a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help lower it.

One of the most important actions men can take to increase their chances of early detection is to get regular screenings.

5 Prostate Cancer Symptoms to Look For

Prostate cancer often develops slowly and may not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. However, as the disease progresses, several symptoms may emerge:

  • Urinary Issues: Difficulty urinating, weak or interrupted urine flow, frequent urination (especially at night), and pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in Urine or Semen: The presence of blood can be a sign of prostate cancer and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection can be linked to prostate cancer.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Persistent pain in the back, hips, or pelvis can indicate that prostate cancer has spread.
  • Other Symptoms: Unexplained weight loss and fatigue can also be associated with more advanced stages of prostate cancer.

Actions to Take if You Suspect Symptoms

If you notice any symptoms that could indicate prostate cancer, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow:
Consult a Healthcare Provider: Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a urologist. They can perform initial evaluations and recommend further tests.

  • Screening Tests: Your doctor may suggest a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). These tests can help detect abnormalities in the prostate.
  • Further Diagnostic Tests: If screening tests indicate potential issues, additional tests such as ultrasound, MRI, or a prostate biopsy may be required to confirm the presence of cancer.

Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

The treatment for prostate cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of cancer, the patient’s age, overall health, and personal preferences. Common treatment options include:

  • Active Surveillance: For men with low-risk, slow-growing prostate cancer, active surveillance might be recommended. This involves regular monitoring through PSA tests, DREs, and biopsies.
  • Surgery: Radical prostatectomy is a common surgical procedure to remove the prostate gland and some surrounding tissue. It is often recommended for men with localized prostate cancer.
  • Radiation Therapy: Traditional X-ray radiation therapy and proton radiation therapy can be used to destroy cancer cells.
  • Hormone Therapy: This treatment reduces the levels of male hormones (androgens) that can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Used primarily for advanced prostate cancer, chemotherapy involves using drugs to kill cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment helps the body’s immune system fight cancer. An example is the sipuleucel-T vaccine for advanced prostate cancer.
  • Targeted Therapy: Drugs targeting specific genes or proteins that contribute to cancer growth may be used, particularly for advanced or recurrent cancer.

The cure rates for prostate cancer are high, especially when detected early. The 5-year survival rate for localized and regional prostate cancer is nearly 100%. Even for more advanced stages, treatment advances continue to improve survival rates and quality of life.

Get Tested if You Are Over 40 Years Old

Prostate cancer is a serious health concern, but early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes. Understanding the risk factors, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking timely medical advice are crucial steps in managing this disease. KCUC recommends regular prostate cancer screening in men starting at age 40-55, depending on personal risk factors, and continuing every 1-2 years until at least age 70-75 depending on individual overall health and life expectancy. Prostate cancer screening should consist of a PSA blood test and prostate exam. With advancements in treatment, many men with prostate cancer can lead healthy, fulfilling lives. If you suspect you have symptoms of prostate cancer, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional and discuss your concerns.

KCUC Offers Compassionate Prostate Cancer Care

At Kansas City Urology and Oncology, we want patients to know that beyond our technological and medical prowess, KCUC is deeply committed to providing compassionate cancer care. Recognizing the immense emotional and physical toll of a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, we place a strong emphasis on supporting patients’ emotional well-being along with their physical health. This holistic approach to care is a cornerstone of KCUC’s philosophy, ensuring that patients and their families are supported through every step of their treatment journey.

See why Healthy Kansas City Magazine called us a “Beacon of hope and innovation”. Read the full article here: Kansas City Proton Institute – Powered by KCUC.

If you’d like to learn more about KCUC, prostate cancer, proton therapy at KCPI, or our Patient-First care model, contact one of the over 30 KCUC Urology and Oncology locations throughout Kansas and Missouri and schedule an appointment to see one of our board-certified urologists or oncologists. At KCUC, you see the best in KC… and we see you too!