There are very few apparent signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, the chances of which increase rapidly after age 50.
Men are at higher risk of prostate cancer as they age, especially after age 50, doctors say, but they caution that age isn’t the only determining factor.
While all men could be at risk, age is the biggest factor, said Dr. Ahmed Hindawy, a urology specialist at the German Hospital Arabia Sharjah. “The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer,” said Dr. Hindawy.
Prostate cancer is called a silent disease because it can be completely asymptomatic, often leading to detection at a later stage. The detection of the disease is very important, since it can be cured if detected early. “However, if it is detected at a later stage, patients should undergo lifelong treatment,” said Dr. Satyabrata Garanayak, a specialist urologist at Thumbay University Hospital.
There are very few apparent signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. However, the inability to urinate and experiencing pain or blood when urinating, or the frequency of urination are some common signs. “In advanced cases, if the cancer has spread to the bone, it can cause bone pain, or when it has spread to the lymph nodes, it can cause swelling in the legs,” said Dr. Garanayak.
Dr Satyabrata Garanayak
He added that patients experiencing these symptoms should consider getting checked out. Currently, the most widely used test for prostate cancer is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, as well as a biopsy.
The prostate is a gland present in the urinary tract of men, and it plays a vital role in reproduction as it supplies prostatic fluid, an essential component of seminal fluid (semen). The gland’s secretions not only contribute to semen volume, but also help control the flow of urine and semen.
Dr. Garanayak said it’s incorrect to assume that prostate cancer is a disease of aging and that one shouldn’t wait until a certain age to start looking for signs and symptoms. “Waiting until you experience symptoms before getting tested is not a wise decision. It is recommended that men start scheduling routine checkups with their urologist starting at age 45 (if you have a family history of prostate cancer) and rest beyond age 50,” said Dr. Garanayak.
He said men should pay attention to the frequency and pain associated with urination, as these could be great giveaways.
Dr. Hindawy said that many risk factors, such as age, race and family history, cannot be controlled. “But there are some things you can do that might lower your risk of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Hindawy.
Dr Ahmed Hindawy
He said following a healthy eating pattern, including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and avoiding or limiting consumption of red and processed meats, sugary drinks, could help reduce risk.
Common risk factors
(Courtesy: Dr Ahmed Hindawy)
- Age: Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40, but the chance of getting prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50. About 6 out of 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men over the age of 65.
- Race: Men of European, African, and American ethnicity generally have a higher risk of prostate cancer. The reasons for the racial and ethnic differences in risk profile are unclear.
- Family history: You have more than one first-degree relative (father, son, or brother) who has had prostate cancer, including relatives in three generations on your father’s or mother’s side of the family.
- Geography: Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America.
- Genetic changes: Several inherited genetic changes (mutations) appear to increase the risk of prostate cancer
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer
(Courtesy: Dr. Satyabrata Garanayak)
- sexual dysfunction
- Weakness or numbness in the extremities
- Changes in bladder habits
- frequent pain
- Blood in the urine
Prostate cancer screening
- Medical history and physical exam
- Most prostate cancers are first detected as a result of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal exam (DRE)