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Prostate Health: Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore​

Preventive screening can help decrease your risk of cancer

Early detection of prostate cancer can save lives. However, in some cases, prostate cancer has no early symptoms, so its important to get tested regularly, says Christopher Chon, M.D., a specialist in Urology at Kelsey-Seybold's Main Campus and Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center locations. Its important to look at the warning signs such as painful or frequent urination, or blood in the urine.

Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA for short, is the primary diagnostic tool of choice for prostate cancer detection. PSA is a protein found in both cancerous and noncancerous prostate tissue. When PSA levels rise, it could mean cancer. Since some cancers don't produce as much PSA, a digital rectal exam is performed also.  Men should take a PSA test starting at age 50. African American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer should get annual PSA test screenings starting at age 40.

The PSA test is not foolproof, but having the test can help reassure you whether you have prostate cancer or not, notes Dr. Chon. Your physician should take your age, family history and medical history in consideration when determining your risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer can sometimes grow slowly. Most men with early prostate cancer live long after their diagnosis, and the number of prostate cancer deaths has gone down dramatically since PSA testing arrived on the scene. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 235,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. Less than 3 percent died of it.

Improved treatment options are available to help men survive prostate cancer, adds Dr. Chon. Thanks to the effectiveness of early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, now you have a better chance of enjoying a good quality of life.

Prostate Cancer Signs

Even though prostate cancer may not show symptoms for years, you should watch for the following signs and seek medical attention:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Inability to urinate.
  • Trouble starting or holding back urination.
  • A weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Painful or burning urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
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Chris Chon, MD

​I believe that patients should receive coordinated care among primary care physicians to receive the optimal treatment for their health needs.