As one of the most common forms of cancer in men, prostate cancer is found in a man’s prostate – a walnut-shaped gland producing seminal fluid in order to transport and nourish sperm. Some forms of prostate cancer grow slowly, not causing any serious harm, whilst others can progress rapidly – making it life-threatening. If you think you may have problems with your prostate, keep reading.
- Bone pain or discomfort
- Blood present in your semen
- Difficulty urinating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Discomfort in pelvic region
- Frequent need to urinate
- Leaking of urine
- Trouble standing up to urinate
As with most forms of cancer, the clear cause of prostate cancer is unknown. Mutations occur in abnormal cell’s DNA, causing them to divide more rapidly than normal cells. In which case the normal cells die off while the abnormal cells multiply to form a tumour. Unfortunately, some abnormal cells have the ability to spread to other parts of the body.
There are two tests commonly used:
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
A physical rectal exam consisting of your doctor inserting a lubricated, gloved finger to check the size of your prostate – looking for any abnormalities such as lumps.
- Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA)
PSA is a substance naturally produced by your prostate, which means the higher the PSA levels, the more likely it is that there’s a problem with your prostate. It’s a blood test drawn from your vein and analysed to test the PSA levels.
It’s also recommended to have the following done:
A transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is ordered if test come back raising any concerns. This ultrasound involves a cigar-sized probe to be entered into your rectum, using soundwaves to ‘visualise’ your prostate
- Prostate tissue sample:
If tests come back positive, your doctor may want to do a prostate biopsy, using a thin needle to collect a tissue sample. This test will determine if cancer cells are present.
Photo credit: samadiroboticsfoundation.org
However, before you panic, make an appointment with your doctor first to make sure you’re not misdiagnosing yourself. Your symptoms could be related to an infection or inflammation, instead of assuming the worst.
Ensure you have an affordable medical aid to help pay for expensive blood tests and doctor visits.