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Prostate Cancer: Are You at Risk?

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Prostate cancers usually grow slowly. Most men with prostate cancer are older than 65 and do not die from the disease.

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system, and is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This is condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and it is not the same as prostate cancer.

All men are at risk

Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about two to three men will die from prostate cancer. The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer. Men who are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer are at increased risk for getting or dying from prostate cancer.

Symptoms to watch for

Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. Some symptoms to watch for:

  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away
  • Painful ejaculation

If you have any symptoms that worry you, see your doctor right away. Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer.

For more information on prostate cancer, visit mercyhealthsystem.org or call (888) 39-MERCY.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; cdc.gov