Detecting Prostate Cancer

January 11, 2024

Prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in men, usually shows up around age 67. In India, it affects 6.3 in 100,000 people. Risk factors include age, smoking, inactivity, infections, and family history. Early stages may show no symptoms, but seniors may experience urinary issues, blood in urine/semen, back pain, and appetite/weight loss. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment. Note that these symptoms can also be linked to non-cancerous conditions, but if you experience any of the following, it's wise to consult a healthcare professional:

Urinary Changes: Keep an eye on changes in your urinary habits. Difficulty starting or stopping urine flow, weak stream, frequent urination (especially at night), or a sudden urgency to urinate can be signs of prostate issues.

Pain or Discomfort: Any pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, lower back, hips, or thighs should not be ignored. Prostate cancer can sometimes cause pain or pressure in these regions.

Blood in Urine or Semen: The presence of blood in urine or semen can be alarming. While it may be due to various reasons, including infections, it's essential to rule out prostate cancer, especially if this occurs persistently.

Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection could be linked to prostate issues. It's essential to address this concern, as it may indicate an underlying problem.

Unexplained Weight Loss: Sudden and unexplained weight loss, though not exclusive to prostate issues, could be associated with advanced stages of prostate cancer. If you experience this along with other symptoms, seek medical advice promptly.

Remember, these symptoms don't guarantee prostate cancer but signal a need for medical attention. Diagnosis involves tests like PSA and ultrasound, confirmed by a biopsy. Treatment varies: surgery for local cases, hormone therapy or chemotherapy for advanced stages, often with bone mineral supplements. Regular urologist check-ups are crucial. It's essential to see your doctor regularly and communicate openly. If you notice persistent changes or have prostate health concerns, schedule an appointment with a urologist for a thorough evaluation and testing. Early detection enhances treatment success chances and positive outcomes. Regular monitoring and open communication with your healthcare provider are key to maintaining prostate health.




By Dr Sanman Gowda
Dr Sanman Gowda is a consultant in urology at KMC Hospital, Mangaluru.
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Comment on this article

  • Dr. Henry Mascarenhas, Greenville, NC, USA

    Sat, Jan 13 2024

    Dear Dr. Colleague, Thank you for your patient education article. I see a lot of African American and other patients in my practice every day, if I may add, I try to keep the guidelines in mind, in addition to symptomatology as you have suggested. Abnormal DRE – Although DRE is not suggested for screening, if DRE is performed, males with nodules, induration, or asymmetry on prostate examination should be referred to a urologist for evaluation, regardless of the serum PSA level. However, symmetric enlargement and firmness of the prostate are frequent in males with BPH and do not typically warrant urologic evaluation unless the PSA is elevated or there are other concerns (UpTodate). USPSTF ( United States Preventive Services Task Force) recommendation for Prostate Cancer screening is grade C "For men aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to undergo periodic prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer should be an individual one. Before deciding whether to be screened, men should have an opportunity to discuss the potential benefits and harms of screening with their clinician and to incorporate their values and preferences in the decision. Screening offers a small potential benefit of reducing the chance of death from prostate cancer in some men. However, many men will experience potential harms of screening, including false-positive results that require additional testing and possible prostate biopsy; over diagnosis and overtreatment; and treatment complications, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction. In determining whether this service is appropriate in individual cases, patients and clinicians should consider the balance of benefits and harms on the basis of family history, race/ethnicity, comorbid medical conditions, patient values about the benefits and harms of screening and treatment-specific outcomes, and other health needs. Clinicians should not screen men who do not express a preference for screening."

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mumbai-Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2024

    Dear Doc, very informative article for all lay people; but somehow, you missed out on the simple and cost effective DRE by an experienced ✋?

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