What’s one of the most common cancers among men? Lung cancer? Liver cancer? Stomach cancer? Nope. Attention males, behind only skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, affecting 0.1% of all men. This is obviously a serious topic, so let’s delve right in. Before we get to the nitty gritty, let’s review the basics. The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland located below the male bladder, and its function is to produce fluids that aid in sperm movement. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and stays in the prostate area, but there are more serious situations where the cancer spreads quickly.
The tricky thing about prostate cancer is that in its early stages, symptoms may be non-existent. However, in its advanced stages, males may experience difficulty urinating, excrete bloody semen or urine, and have trouble maintaining an erection. In addition, back, pelvic, or leg pain may be present. The causes of prostate cancer are a little ambiguous because its exact causes are unknown. However, there are risk factors that make certain males more susceptible. For example, prostate cancer affects older men over the age of 50 more often than younger men. Another risk factor is if the cancer runs in the family.
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In the early stages, treatment for prostate cancer may not be needed. Often times, men who are symptom free choose to actively monitor their cancer through various blood and rectal exams. If exams show that the cancer isn’t progressing, then some men never receive treatment. However, if the cancer is growing and/or spreading, radiation or surgery is recommended. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. In addition, surgery is an option to physically remove the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissues.
One way to help prevent prostate cancer involves eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight via consistent exercise can also reduce the risk. Ultimately, the take-home message is to get regular check-ups and be wary of any potential symptoms. Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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