Discuss Your Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer with Your Physician

Discuss Your Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer with Your Physician

imageThe Ebola crisis circulating through the news has everyone running scared. However, if you are an American male, you should be aware that prostate cancer could be a factor in your future- more so than Ebola. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

Prostate cancer is a very common disease, affecting around 80 percent of men who reach the age of 80. It is so common, in fact, that the director of the Parkland Urology Clinic, Dr. Yair Lotan estimates that around 233,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with this disease by the end of 2014 and more than 29,000 deaths will be caused by this cancer.

However, though prostate cancer is prevalent, you should know that The American Cancer Society states that over two million men in the United States that have been diagnosed are still alive. If the cancer is discovered early, the five year survival rate of an individual is very close to 100 percent.

Men who have an average risk for developing this cancer should begin talking to their physician and being screened by the age of 50. Men who are at a higher risk should begin at the age of 45 and men who have a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed should begin their screenings at the age of 40.

Risk factors of developing prostate cancer include the following:


This is the number one risk factor. For white males with no family history, this risk is greatly increased after the age of 50. African-American males over the age of 40 are at an increased risk of developing this disease. Approximately two-thirds of cases are diagnosed in men age 65 or older. However, the older an individual is- especially if they’re over the age of 70- the less aggressively the disease behaves.

Family History

Men who have a family history of prostate cancer have an increased risk- having a father or brother more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. In fact, having a brother with the disease increases risk more so than having a father with the disease. Men who have multiple family members who have been diagnosed are at a much greater risk of developing this cancer than men who only have one relative with the disease.


African-American males have a 60 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with this disease than white American males- and when it is found, it is typically advanced. On the other hand, African males living in Africa have a decreased risk for developing prostate cancer. It is thought that environmental factors are also connected to this risk category.


Some research is showing that diets high in fat could also contribute to prostate cancer. This is due to the fact that occurrences of prostate cancer are much higher in countries where meat and dairy are significant in diet and much lower in countries where diet consists mostly of soybean products, vegetables, and rice.

The symptoms of prostate cancer vary greatly from person to person. Truthfully, most men never show any symptoms. Symptoms of prostate cancer can include the following:

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Difficulty starting/stopping urine flow
  • Weak/interrupted urine stream
  • Urine leaking when laughing/coughing
  • Pain/burning during ejaculation or urination
  • Blood in semen or urine
  • Unable to urinate while standing

Of course, you should know that these symptoms are not exactly symptoms of the cancer itself but of the blockage that is caused from the tumor growth in the prostate. These can also be indicative of a urinary tract infection or an enlarged, but noncancerous prostate.

However, not all medical experts believe that the benefits of prostate screening outweigh the risks of the screening process.

In fact, the US Preventative Services Task Force actually recommends that men do not have prostate-specific antigen-based screening unless they fully understand everything that is known about this process and decides that even the smallest chance of benefit outweighs the risks of the procedure. The problem with this type of screening is that levels can be falsely elevated, which leads to unnecessary procedures and treatments as well as the side effects from the treatments.

Still, if you believe that you are at risk of developing prostate cancer or you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should speak with your physician about getting screened. Though many are under the belief that the risks are worse than any potential benefits, if you fall into one of the “high risk” categories, you should definitely be screened so that you can catch it early on and have a much higher survival rate.Top of Form

>Learn more about prostate cancer 

>Learn more about the prostate gland


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