The statistics surrounding prostate cancer can be frightening — one in nine men in the United States will be affected by the disease — making it the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer in men behind skin cancer. But now consider this statistic: There are almost three million survivors of prostate cancer thanks to early detection and treatment.
As a urologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, Dr. Robert J. Cornell’s goal is to arm his patients in the Houston area with what they need to know about this disease. Ultimately, the earlier he can intervene, the better the outcome.
To that end, we’ve pulled together the 5 symptoms and other risk factors you should watch out for.
1. Know your past
It’s rare that cancer affords you the opportunity to get a glimpse into a crystal ball, but prostate cancer is one where clues lie in your family history. If close relatives have been diagnosed with the disease, this should give you fair warning that you may be more vulnerable. But don’t just concentrate on prostate cancer — if the women in your family have struggled with breast cancer, this is a red flag too. Families that carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations run a greater risk of developing both breast and prostate cancers.
2. Know your risks
There’s still much to be learned about what causes prostate cancer, but researchers have made some undeniable links to certain factors. For example, for reasons unknown, black men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than other races, and the disease is often more aggressive. As well, problems with weight that tip the scales into obesity make men more prone to this form of cancer. Rounding out the list of risk factors is simple age — the older you are, the more your chances for developing prostate cancer increase.
3. Urination issues
One of the first problems men encounter when prostate cancer is in play are problems with urination. Your prostate gland is located near your urinary tract, namely your bladder and urethra. When this gland is inflamed, it can press against these organs, making urination difficult. And as the cancer cells grow, they can also affect the function of your urinary tract. Typically, men with prostate problems urinate far more frequently and have weaker streams.
4. Sexual dysfunction
The primary task of your prostate gland is the creation of your seminal fluid, which carries your sperm. If there’s cancer in the area, it can lead to erectile dysfunction, which affects your ability to get and maintain an erection. You may also notice blood in your semen.
5. Pelvic discomfort
When prostate cancer takes hold, it can spread, causing pain in your pelvic region, as well as in the bones in your hips, chest, and back. When your body is any discomfort, there’s no clearer signal that something’s not right, which is why you should seek our help at the earliest signs of a problem.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s always a good idea to get checked out, especially if you fall into the higher-risk categories. Depending upon the stage of the prostate cancer, we have a number of tools that can help beat back the disease, including hormone and radiation therapies, as well as surgical removal of your prostate. Rest assured that Dr. Cornell has extensive experience using all of these treatments, often to great success.
To learn more about prostate cancer, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.