Wondering about the symptoms of prostate cancer? Think you may need to see a doctor?

Here are the answers to several important questions about prostate cancer provided by the National Cancer Institute.

We Know: 9 Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

What is the prostate?

Itís a gland in a manís reproductive system that makes and stores seminal fluid. The prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Itís about the size of a walnut and surrounds the upper part of the tube that empties urine from the bladder. If it grows too large, the flow of urine can be slowed or stopped.

What are some of the symptoms of prostate cancer?

9 of the most common symptoms are:

  1. Need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
  2. Difficulty starting to urinate or hold back urine.
  3. Inability to urinate.
  4. Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  5. Painful or burning urination.
  6. Difficulty having an erection.
  7. Painful ejaculation.
  8. Blood in urine or semen (this can also be a symptom of prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate)
  9. Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

Note: Early prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms.

Whoís at greatest risk for prostate cancer?

Itís impossible to predict who will get prostate cancer, but some of the factors that increase your risk include:

  • being over 55
  • a family history of prostate cancer
  • race (more common in African American men than white, less common in Asian and American Indian men).

There is also some evidence that a diet high in animal fat may be a contributing factor, and a diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease risk.

What are the common tests for detecting prostate cancer?

There are two typical initial tests to detect prostate abnormalities. They donít detect cancer, but they can help to determine if you need to be checked further.

One is a rectal exam in which the doctor uses his finger to determine if the prostate area is hard or lumpy. The other is a blood test that looks for abnormalities that are a predictor of problems in the prostate.

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