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Prostate Health: Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore
Early detection of prostate cancer can save lives. Because prostate cancer has no early symptoms in some cases, it's important that men get tested, says Christopher Chon, MD, Chief of Urology at Kelsey-Seybold.
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.
“The PSA test isn't foolproof, but having the test can determine whether you have prostate cancer,” notes Dr. Chon. Your physician should take your age, family history, race/ethnicity, and medical history into consideration when determining your risk of prostate cancer. You and your doctor should discuss the pros and cons of testing before deciding whether to proceed.
“With improved treatment options and the effectiveness of early diagnosis, men now have a better chance of enjoying a good quality of life after surviving prostate cancer,” adds Dr. Chon. In some cases, treatment may not be necessary right away, and regular follow-ups may be recommended to monitor progression.
Prostate Cancer Signs
Even though prostate cancer may not show symptoms for years, you should watch for the following warning signs and seek medical attention for them:
- 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