Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found in men in the United States, second only to skin cancers. Knowing the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer is vital since early detection is a critical factor when it comes to effective treatments. This is what you need to know about prostate cancer.

Signs and Symptoms
Early on, prostate cancer may show no visible signs or symptoms. Sometimes the only way to detect prostate cancer in the beginning stages is with a prostate exam.

Advanced prostate cancer may include one or all of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Groin pain
  • Tingling or swelling in the lower extremities
  • Frequent hip or back pain
  • Bones that break easily
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sudden weight loss or loss of appetite

Not all prostate cancers need to be treated right away. Some just need to be monitored closely and treated if the cancer begins to spread.

Treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove the prostate
  • Radiation or chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Biological therapy
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound
  • Hormone therapy
  • Alternative or holistic medicine
  • Participation in clinical trials

The effectiveness of each treatment varies depending on the type and stage of prostate cancer. Side effects of some of the treatments can be harsh, and the benefits of each should be discussed with your doctor to determine which treatment is right for you.

Prostate-Specific Antigen Test (PSA) vs. Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
Screening for prostate cancer includes one of two tests- a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) or a digital rectal examination (DRE). The PSA is a blood test that checks for elevated levels in the blood. A DRE is when a doctor examines a man’s rectum with a gloved finger to feel if the prostate is enlarged.

Early detection yields the highest survival rate from prostate cancer. Most men diagnosed early on will survive it. The CDC recommends that men between the ages of 55 and 69 should talk with their doctor to determine if they should be screened. 

Article originally published on ThriveGlobal: