The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Located just below the bladder, it surrounds the top of the tube that drains urine from the bladder (urethra). As a result of its proximity to the urethra and reproductive organs, prostate cancer can cause symptoms that affect urination and sexual activity.Prostate cancer is classified using a Gleason score, which measures how abnormal or different normal cells are. About 85 percent of prostate cancers are found during the first screening tests, before a patient has any symptoms.
However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may require little or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.Age is very important when it comes to prostate cancer, as it is more common in older men. That's why I and most of the urologists and medical professionals I talk to encourage men over a certain age to get regular prostate exams. Early detection is key, as prostate cancer that is detected early when it is still confined to the prostate gland is more likely to be successful in treatment.The severity of symptoms may depend on the location of the prostate cancer and how advanced it is. Common signs of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating, frequent urination, weak or interrupted urine flow, blood in the urine or semen, pain or burning during urination, pain in the back, hips or pelvis, and erectile dysfunction.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to speak with your doctor right away.In some cases, it may be beneficial to block hormones with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which can delay the cancer or even cause it to go into remission. However, some evidence indicates that people taking these medications may have a higher risk of developing a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer).External beam radiation is another option for treating prostate cancer. High-energy beams that emit photons attack and destroy abnormal prostate cells outside the body.If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or are looking for support from others who have been through similar experiences, Mayo Clinic Connect's prostate cancer support group is a great resource. Connect with others like you for support and answers to your questions.