If you are a man over 45 years old, it is important that you have regular check ups with your physician as this is the best way to check for prostate cancer. You don’t usually know that you have it unless you get checked regularly. Once it has been discovered, it is often advanced and has spread to other parts of the body.
If prostate cancer spreads, certain symptoms may occur, including the need to urinate more than usual, not being able to stop leakage of the urine when you cough, pain during sexual intercourse, and blood in the flow of urine. These are usually caused by the cancerous tumor within. If the disease is in more advanced stages, you may experience all the above in addition to pain in the pelvis, back, and thighs, unexplained weight loss, tiredness, vomiting, swelling in the hands and feet, weakness in the legs, and problems with regularity. Call your physician if you have any of these unexplained symptoms, so that you can be evaluated.
If you have already visited your physician for an evaluation and have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the options that you have for treatment can be very confusing and there are both benefits and risks to any of them. Your treatment options vary by what stage you are in, your present age, your lifestyle, and other factors that need to be considered before treatment begins.
If you are in the earlier stages of prostate cancer, which means that it has been contained to the gland only, you are more easily cured. Because it is usually a slower moving disease, many men who have it don’t know it or will die with it, but not necessarily from it. The three main steps of treatment are surgery, radiation, and waiting. The tumor and sometimes the entire organ are removed during surgery, and then several radiation treatments are performed to keep the disease in check, so that it does not spread. Then the waiting game begins to see if the treatments worked. Sometimes you also receive hormone treatments and chemotherapy if you are older or if your disease is more advanced. How exactly it works depends on your age, any health problems that you already had before your diagnosis, preferences, and side effect concerns, which include sexual problems and incontinence.
If you have not seen your physician recently and you are a man over 45, schedule your appointment soon. The sooner your prostate cancer is diagnosed, the better chances you have of a complete recovery and a longer, more productive life.