PROSTATE CANCER , SYMPTOMS AND RISK FACTORS.
What is the Prostate?
• The prostate is a walnut sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system.
• The prostate is located beneath the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum.
• The prostate makes some of the fluid that nourishes and protects sperm cells in the semen. Just behind the prostate are the seminal vesicles, which make most of the fluid for the semen.
• The urethra is a tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, running through the prostate.
• The activity and growth of the prostate is stimulated by male hormones called androgens.
• The main androgen is testosterone, produced by the testicles.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Research shows that men with certain risk factors are more likely to develop prostate cancer. These risk factors include the following:
• Age over 65 – this is the main risk factor for prostate cancer. The older a man gets, the more likely he will develop prostate cancer. This disease is rare in men under 45 years of age.
• Family History – one’s risk of prostate cancer is higher if you have a father, brother or son with prostate cancer.
• Race – prostate cancer is more common among African American men and less common among Asian/Pacific Islanders, Native American and Native Alaskan men.
• Certain Prostate Changes – men with cells called high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) may be at increased risk for prostate cancer.
• Certain Genome Changes – research suggests that the risk for prostate cancer many be linked to specific changes on particular chromosomes.
Having a risk factor does not mean that one will develop prostate cancer. Most men with any of the above risk factors will still never develop this disease.
What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
Many men with prostate cancer have no symptoms related to their cancer. For those that do have symptoms, they could include any of the following:
• Urinary problems – weak urine stream, difficulty initiating urination, stopping and starting during urination; urinating frequently, especially at night, pain or burning with urination. These symptoms are also often associated with noncancerous enlargement of the prostate, called benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH.
• Blood – in the urine and semen.
• Pain – in the hips, pelvis, spine or upper legs.
• Pain or discomfort – during ejaculation.