Prostate Cancer Symptoms

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For men who develop prostate cancer, there may be no visible signs for many years. Often, symptoms of prostate cancer are only noticed when the tumor grows large enough to press against the urethra and block the flow of urine. Patients may also experience a burning sensation or excrete blood when urinating.

The first symptoms of prostate cancer are also frequently spotted by physicians during a blood test or digital rectum examination. In the first instance, the patient may have higher levels of prostate-specific antigen in their blood. In the second instance, the physician may feel an enlarged prostate, or a lump on the prostate.

On further examination during a DRE, a physician will also check the surrounding tissue to ensure the tumor hasn't spread. In this case, the physician is checking for hardened tissue that extends from the prostate gland into surrounding area. If any indications of hardened tissue are discovered, a PSA test will be conducted at a later date.

Medical professionals generally prefer conducting the PSA test prior to the DRE. When conducting a DRE, the physician is actually stimulating the prostate, thereby releasing PSA into the blood. Testing blood for heightened levels of PSA after the DRE is thus useless. It is suggested that men over 50 years of age receive a regular PSA test as susceptibility to prostate cancer increases with age. However, for those who have a family history of prostate cancer, physicians typically prefer regularly administering a PSA test once these individuals are over the age of 40.

Other Physical Symptoms
There are other physical symptoms that may be experienced by patients developing advanced prostate cancer. Initially, prostate cancer tumors spread to the pelvic bones and lower spine. As such, patients may experience pelvic and lower back pain.

After spreading to the lower spine and pelvic bones, the cancer can spread to the liver and lungs. As the cancer affects the liver, the patient may experience abdominal pain and, in some rare instances, jaundiced skin. Therefore, apart from abdominal pain, the patient may notice a yellowing of the skin.

Should the cancer spread to the lungs, the patient will begin to experience chest pain and coughing. Although these may be signs of other ailments, if any of these symptoms are experienced, the patient should receive a full medical check-up. If you have a family history of prostate cancer or are of African-American ancestry, you should also consider having regular check-ups.

Regardless of the symptoms, the patient should note that the only sure-fire method to test for the existence of prostate cancer is a biopsy of the prostate. A biopsy uses a gun that inserts three to six needles into the prostate to obtain samples. The biopsy itself takes only seconds to complete. After the samples have been taken, they will be scanned for any existence of prostate cancer. A biopsy, however, is typically reserved for a period after the PSA and DRE have been administered. If either the PSA or DRE show signs of cancer, the physician will recommend a biopsy, and it is highly suggested that the patient undergo the procedure.

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