There are many things in life that you can—and probably should—ignore. Phone calls from telemarketers. Doughnuts somebody brought to work and left in the break room.
But your prostate deserves your full attention. Except for skin cancer, prostate is the most common cancer among men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in seven men will be diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime.
While that certainly sounds gloomy, the good news is that prostate cancer is usually treatable, especially when caught early. In fact, the five-year relative survival rate is 99 percent.
Case closed, right? Paying attention to your health can save your life. Here are prostate problems you should never ignore; call your doctor right away if you notice any of the following issues.
- Blood in the urine. This can be caused by an enlarged prostate (a common condition that affects men as they get older), or even a kidney stone, but it can also be a sign of prostate or bladder cancer.
- Trouble urinating or a weak or slow stream of urine. Again, this can be a sign of an enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection, but it also can be a symptom of prostate cancer.
- Erectile dysfunction. Most people know this can be a sign of diabetes, but it’s also yet another possible sign of prostate cancer. Painful erections or blood in the semen also should be checked out.
- Deep pain or stiffness in the lower back, pelvis, ribs or upper thigh.
You may have noticed that most of these symptoms are identical to those of an enlarged prostate. That’s because the symptoms of prostate cancer are not caused by the cancer itself, but by the blockage resulting from the growth in the prostate.
There is, however, no way for you to distinguish between prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate (which, by the way, has become very treatable thanks to the UroLift procedure). That’s why it’s so important to call your doctor when any of these symptoms arise.
Listen to your body and take charge of your life. Your health—and your future—is not something worth ignoring. It’s also important to note that most cases of prostate cancer have no symptoms. That’s why, if you’re over 50, your doctor might recommend a simple blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA). There is some debate in the medical community now over the benefits and drawbacks of PSA testing, which is why the best course of action is to work together with your doctor to come up with a plan that’s right for you.
The bottom line? Whether you’re experiencing any of the best symptoms listed above or are overdue for a physical, it may be time to tune into your health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our medical professionals.