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January 3, 2008

Crucial Prostate Cancer Info That All Men Should Learn About

The prostate exists only in men. It is a small gland about the size of walnut, located underneath the bladder. Shaped somewhat like a donut, it surrounds the urethra -- the tube that transports urine from your bladder. The main job of the prostate is to produce seminal fluid, which protects and nourishes sperm after ejaculation.

Prostate cancer has recently become known as the most common form of cancer in males throughout Western society. Oftentimes, treatment is unnecessary since the disease grows rather slowly. This is unlike other forms of cancer that usually grow and spread quickly. However, prostate cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, including the bones which can cause pain.

The difficulty or inability to pass urine, especially at night, is one of the most prominent symptoms of prostate cancer. There may also be small amounts of blood found in the urine, or a weak urine stream. Other symptoms can be pain or discomfort in the upper thighs, hips and lower back.

These symptoms however may not necessarily represent prostate cancer; they can be a result of other less serious conditions too. But if you do have any of these symptoms, it is always best to consult your physician for a reliable diagnosis.

The causes of prostate cancer have still not been fully determined by research. However, a small number of cases have been linked to exposure to high levels of radiation. Genetics also appear to play a large part. Prostate cancer often shows up more than once among related males in the same family. Therefore if you have a family history of the disease, be sure to get regular health exams to detect the problem early. One thing to note is that prostate cancer rarely develops in men below the age of 50, but the risk rises significantly after that -- roughly 50% of all prostate cancer cases occur after the age of 75.

Although still inconclusive, current research suggests that a diet high in fats may increase the risk of prostate cancer, whereas a Vitamin E rich diet (tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli) can lower the risk. But even if a healthier diet doesn't actually reduce your risk of prostate cancer, your general health will improve, which will in turn make the prevention and treatment of diseases more successful.

Some believe that a vasectomy might increase the risk of prostate cancer, but as of now there is no research that supports this assumption. Some studies though have shown that 200 mcg of selenium taken every day may reduce the risk of the disease.

Like other forms of cancer, successful treatment depends upon early diagnosis. As the cancer becomes more advanced, a cure becomes more difficult. Every man above the age of 50 should come to understand the signs of prostate cancer and consult a doctor if any symptoms are present. Some of the tests that are administered in order to detect prostate cancer are:

Rectal Examination

The size and shape of the prostate is manually examined from the rectum by the insertion of a gloved and lubricated finger.

Ultrasound

The size and shape of the prostate gland is analyzed from the rectum by the insertion of a small probe.

PSA Blood Test

A blood test that looks for higher than normal levels of Prostate Specific Anitgens (PSA).

Biopsy

A small tissue sample is removed from the prostate by a needle inserted into the rectum with a small probe.

X-Ray

This is used to determine if the cancer has spread and is present in places such as the surrounding bones.

Are you looking for prostate cancer info? For more important information on prostate cancer, the prostate gland, and prostate cancer prevention and treatments, please visit http://www.onlineprostatehealth.com for more information.

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