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Prostate Cancer - Frequently Asked Questions

Overview | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment | FAQ

What are common risk factors associated with prostate cancer?

  • After age 50 the likelihood of developing prostate cancer increases greatly.
  • It is unknown why but African American men have a larger risk of developing this cancer.
  • Your risk increases if a closes family member such as father or brother is diagnosed with prostate cancer.

What changes occur as the prostate ages?

The prostate gland surrounds the tube (urethra) that passes urine. With age, this may become a source of problems for a couple reasons. The prostate tends to grow larger with age and may squeeze the urethra or a tumor can make the prostate bigger.

These described changes, or an infection, can occur and lead to problems passing urine. In some cases, men in their 30s and 40s may begin to experience a few of these urinary symptoms and need medical attention. Others may not experience symptoms until much later in life. Regardless of age, tell your doctor if you experience any urinary problems.

Can prostate cancer be found before a man has symptoms?

Yes. Nearly 90 percent of all prostate cancers are currently diagnosed at an early stage, and, owing to this, men are surviving longer after diagnosis. There are two tests that are commonly used to detect prostate cancer in the absence of any symptoms. The first is the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to find hard or lumpy areas. The second is a blood test used to detect a substance made by the prostate called prostate-specific antigen (PSA).