Pain or other problems while you urinate could be signs of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer starts in the prostate, a gland that men have just below the bladder. Your prostate produces semen.

Prostate cancer usually is slow-growing. If you have it, you may not notice any symptoms right away. When symptoms do show up, you’ll probably notice some of them while you urinate.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Pain or a burning feeling while urinating
  • Slow, weak, or dribbling stream while urinating
  • Feeling like you need to urinate often
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Pain or a feeling of pressure in your rectum
  • Pain in the low part of your back

Having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have prostate cancer. But if you’re having any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor about it right away. If you do have prostate cancer, earlier treatment will give you a better chance of success.

People who are diagnosed with cancer often have questions about their life expectancy. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is high, almost 100 percent. That means almost all of the people diagnosed with prostate cancer live for at least five years after they were diagnosed.

There’s more to learn about prostate cancer.

If your father or your brother had it, your risk of getting prostate cancer is twice as high as the average person’s risk.

Prostate cancer runs in some families, so your family history can be a risk factor.

A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of getting a disease. It doesn’t mean you will get it, but it does mean you may be more likely to get it than the average person.

Other risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Race: African-American men have a higher-than-average risk for getting prostate cancer.
  • Age: Your chance of getting prostate cancer goes up after age 50.

Some other possible risk factors that have been studied include diet, smoking, and obesity, but it’s not clear whether any of these definitely increase your risk for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is less common in people who eat a vegetarian diet.

Your doctor may order a blood test or a physical exam.

Your doctor will discuss your medical history with you, including your symptoms, any problems you’ve had urinating or while having sex, and your family medical history.

Doctors also use two common tests to check for signs of prostate cancer:

  • Digital rectal exam: The doctor feels your prostate gland for any lumps. This is done by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test: PSA is a protein produced by your prostate. If the level of PSA in your blood is high, that could be a sign of prostate cancer.

If your doctor finds more signs of prostate cancer from these tests, you also may undergo a biopsy, which is surgery to remove a tiny piece of tissue from your prostate that can be examined closely in a lab.

You and your doctor will decide which prostate cancer treatment is right for you.

Surgery is a common treatment option for prostate cancer that is in its early stages or has not spread into other parts of the body. Usually the prostate is removed in a procedure called radical prostatectomy.

Other possible prostate cancer treatment options include:

  • Radiation therapy: A beam of radiation is directed at the prostate to kill cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: A male hormone called androgen helps prostate cancer cells grown. Hormone therapy decreases your level of androgen. This is done with a drug or by removing the testicles.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy may be used if hormone therapy isn’t working.
  • Vaccine: A vaccine that contains your own white blood cells can be used to train your immune system to kill cancer cells.

For some patients whose prostate cancer is small and growing very slowly, doctors may use an approach called observation, watchful waiting, or active surveillance. This is sometimes used for men who are older or not healthy enough to get treatment and whose prostate cancer is small enough that it’s not an immediate threat to their overall health.

Holden’s prostate cancer experts can give you the best available care.

Your care team of specialists includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, genetic counselors, nurses, and others. They work together to design a treatment plan that is personalized for you, your cancer, and your specific treatment needs.

Holden offers you:

  • Experts focused on prostate cancer: They have a deep understanding of prostate cancer and know about the most recent and innovative treatment options.
  • Innovative clinical trials: Our physicians also are prostate cancer researchers, participating in creating some of the latest breakthroughs in prostate cancer care. We offer many of these therapies to our patients before they’re widely available on the market.
  • Robotic and standard surgery: Our surgeons stay up to date on the latest surgical procedures for prostate cancer. We were the first hospital in Iowa to offer robotic radical prostatectomy.
  • Quality of life expertise: Side effects from treatments can change your quality of life, from using the bathroom to your sexual health. We study these challenges and can offer you proven solutions.

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