January 3, 2008

Detecting Prostate Cancer Symptoms Early

It is still unknown what really causes prostate cancer but several risk factors have been discovered like family history, race, age or high fat diet.

Having a screening examination at fixed intervals is important to detect the cancer early. Looking for symptoms yourself is not enough because you can not detect it early enough. Once you have prostate cancer symptoms already, it is (too) late already. After the disease has broken out already, you could have symptoms like weak or interrupted urine flow, blood in the urine or a pain in the back, thighs or hips. There could also be a burning sensation.

It could be a matter of life or dead to detect the cancer as early as possible. The earlier the treatment starts the greater the chances of survival. This can be cured but only when it hasn't spread too much already.

The doctor will also put his digit into the rectum to feel any lumps in the prostate. If he finds any abnormalities, the doctor will order an blood test to find out if a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is in the blood. While low amounts of PSA are ok, a high amount of PSA is a strong sign for cancer. A trans rectal ultrasound examination is another option. This painless method gives a good picture of the gland within 20 minutes.

A biopsy is needed once the above tests indicate the occurrence of cancer. That means that the doctor must take a small sample of the tissue by using a needle. The sample is then checked under a microscope and if the sample is cancerous it is an exact diagnosis. The biopsy itself is a quick and rather painless method to diagnose prostate cancer.

Once it is detected, the doctor must find out how much it has spread already. An x-ray can show if the cancer has reached the lungs already. A computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging can also make internal organs visible. Once it is diagnosed the treatment must start immediately. There are several different treatment options but still the surgery is the most effective way to totally remove the cancer. The treatment will need a team of doctors, an urologist, a surgeon and an oncologist. The surgery is not without risks and side effects so that some prefer alternative ways.

A good prognosis with a high survival rate of 95% can be given when it was detected very early and the surgery was successful. However, the later the cancer was diagnosed, the worse the statistics get. Less than 30% survive the next five years after the cancer was detected very late.
Early detection of prostate cancer symptoms and prostate cancer can save your life.

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