10 facts about prostate cancer every man should know

Prostate cancer is asymptomatic and most men don't experience any symptom which cancer keeps growing inside the gland.

September is Prostate Cancer awareness month. It is necessary that we get our facts correct about this cancer and debunk few myths. Many people take prostate health for granted and this is a reason why prostate cancer goes unnoticed in many men and is often diagnosed when it is too late. The awareness about this cancer is too less in our country and this is one of the reasons why many miss the timely diagnosis and suffer from metastasis too. Prostate cancer though has a high chance of being treated if diagnosed early. So, here we are stating a few facts about cancer that every man should know.

  1. As a man ages, the risk of developing prostate cancer also increases exponentially. This is a fact all men have to live with. In fact, many autopsy studies have shown that if a man lives long enough he will ultimately develop this cancer.
  2. Many people confuse prostate cancer with an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate can be a sign of prostate cancer but not every man who has enlarged prostate might suffer from prostate cancer. The prostate gland grows in size albeit slowly as a man ages, usually after 60. This enlarged prostate puts a pressure on the urethra which leads to problems with urination. However, in India three in 10 men develop cancer in the prostate. In fact, most prostate cancers are picked up when men go to their doctors with symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
  3. Prostate cancer is asymptomatic and most men don't experience any symptom which cancer keeps growing inside the gland.
  4. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer are twice more likely to develop this cancer than men who don't have a family history of this cancer.
  5. Many people believe that prostate cancer is slow-growing cancer and it doesn't impact a man's life even if one gets cancer. However, this is a myth. There are different types of prostate cancer slow-growing and aggressive cancers. The aggressive one could be life-threatening. Since both types of cancers are asymptomatic, a reason prostate cancer is called a silent killer.
  6. Prostate cancer is highly treatable and there are better chances of survival if it is detected in the early stages. This is why regular screening for prostate cancer becomes necessary. A basic PSA test (blood test) can go a long way in predicting prostate cancer. Even rectal examinations can help to detect this cancer early.
  7. A PSA reading more than 4ng/ml could make your doctor suspicious. However, PSA could also become elevated due to infection so one needs to be cautious while interpreting PSA reports. It is better to seek a second or third opinion when your PSA levels are high or go for another PSA test to rule out a possible infection. Most doctors avoid doing a biopsy right after seeing elevated PSA reports as it could lead to complications like bleeding or infection and would like to wait for a second PSA test.
  8. However, regular screening is the only way one can detect cancer early and get treated to avoid complications.
  9. Prostate cancer is treated either by surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. In some cases, even hormone replacement therapy is suggested. The treatment depends on the severity of the condition and is planned by an uro-oncologist accordingly.
  10. To be on the safer side it is necessary for all men to be regular with screening. Get screened annually to know the status of your prostate.

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