Prostate Cancer - What You Need To Know

"If detected early, prostate cancer has a 98% survival rate."

Often, early-stage prostate cancer has no symptoms or signs. It is usually found through a PSA test or DRE, a process called screening. If a PSA test or DRE indicates that prostate cancer may be present, more monitoring and testing is needed to diagnose prostate cancer. When prostate cancer does cause symptoms or signs, it is usually diagnosed in a later stage.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located behind the base of a man’s penis, in front of the rectum, and below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube-like channel that carries urine and semen through the penis. The prostate's main function is to make seminal fluid, the liquid in semen that protects, supports, and helps transport sperm.

As men get older, the prostate continues to enlarge over time. This can lead to a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which is when the urethra becomes blocked. BPH is a common condition associated with growing older, and it can cause symptoms similar to those of prostate cancer. BPH has not been associated with a greater risk of having prostate cancer.

Cancer begins when healthy cells in the prostate change and grow out of control, forming a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread. If detected early, prostate cancer has a 98% survival rate.

Did you know that prostate cancer affects one in six South African men? While most common in men over the age of 50, it is not unheard of for men to be diagnosed in their 20s. It is so prevalent that, theoretically, two men in every rugby team or one man in every soccer team will have it.

Early detection is key and starts with a simple blood test. A Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test can determine your level of PSA – a protein produced by normal and cancerous prostate cells. PSA levels tend to rise when there’s a problem with your prostate health, including the development and growth of prostate cancer.

Ignorance isn’t bliss, especially when it comes to your health and quality of life.

Keep it simple with one yearly check-up and a closer eye on the following symptoms:

- A frequent need to urinate

- Painful or burning urination

- A weak or interrupted flow of urine

- Difficulty starting or stopping urination

- Difficulty in having an erection

- Painful ejaculation

- Blood in the urine or semen

- Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs

Getting tested once a year can make all the difference in the world. Visit Here4You for essential information and hope at every stage of prostate cancer.

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