According to the American Cancer Society, 1 out of every 9 men will develop prostate cancer sometime during his life. In fact, 70 percent of men over age 70 are likely to have some prostate cancer present in their gland. And while prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men—claiming the life of 1 out of every 41 men—many cases progress so slowly that it’s never even noticed or doesn’t necessitate treatment. For this reason, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of screening for prostate cancer with your primary care physician or urologist. We’re sharing three things you should know about prostate cancer so you can be more informed about your health.
1. Symptoms can vary greatly.
For most men, prostate cancer is not symptomatic until it spreads outside of the prostate, which is called metastatic cancer. In rare cases, frequency with urgency or blood in the semen might be symptoms of local prostate cancer. Other symptoms, such as trouble starting or stopping urination, weak stream, or increased urination at night, are more likely related to benign enlargement of the prostate. Since it’s common not to display any signs of prostate cancer, you should visit your primary care physician for regular wellness visits to ensure you’re in good health.
2. There are many ways to treat it.
The type of treatment you receive depends on the severity of the cancer. If the tumor is not growing or is slowly growing, your doctor might determine that regular monitoring of the condition (also known as “active surveillance”) is the healthiest treatment option. If the cancer is more aggressive and spreads rapidly, your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation, or HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound).
3. Vasectomies don’t cause prostate cancer.
Rumors have swirled around for decades about what factors contribute to the risk of prostate cancer. One of these rumors is that having a vasectomy makes you more likely to develop prostate cancer. This information is incorrect, and there is no evidence of a connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer.
If you notice any unusual changes in your body, it’s been a while since your last check-up, or you would like to discuss screenings, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a primary care physician or urologist at St. Joseph Health. Screening supports early diagnosis and helps identify areas in the gland that may need closer evaluation so you can get the medical attention you need before the cancer has time to grow. Learn more about the UroNav Fusion Biopsy System, the latest prostate imaging.
Prostate Cancer Foundation | Five Myths and Misconceptions About Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer Foundation | Five MORE Myths and Misconceptions About Prostate Cancer
Everyday Health | 9 Myths About Prostate Cancer
Healthline | Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society | Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer
Harvard Health Publishing | For some prostate cancers, waiting beats treatment