Prostate Cancer Facts

Are You at Risk?

menThe prostate is only the size of a walnut, but plays an important role in reproduction. Three common health problems that can affect the prostate include prostate cancer, prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Take this true-false quiz to separate prostate facts from fiction.

  1. Caucasian men have the highest rates of prostate cancer
    True False
  2. Men should talk with their doctor about whether they need to be screened for prostate cancer
    True False
  3. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) occurs naturally as a result of age
    True False
  4. A common symptom of prostatitis, an inflamed or infected prostate gland, is pain in or around the penis
    True False

And the Answer Is ...

  1. False. African-American men face a much higher risk of prostate cancer than men of other racial backgrounds.
  2. True. Men should discuss the advantages and limitations of screening with their doctors beginning at age 50. African-American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer should start speaking with their doctor about screenings at age 45.
  3. True. BPH, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate that makes it hard to urinate, eventually strikes most men at some point after age 50. As a matter of fact, experts estimate that as many as 90 percent of men in their 70s and 80s have BPH. A man with BPH should avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants and antihistamines. Saw palmetto supplements or prescription medicines also may help.
  4. True. Men with prostatitis also may have trouble urinating or ejaculating. Prostatitis may be treated with antibiotics if an infection is detected. Self-help measures include:
  • Relieving pain with OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Avoiding alcohol and spicy foods
  • Taking hot baths

The Facts About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. While some risk factors are unavoidable, including being older, having a father or brother with this type of cancer and being African-American, you may be able to control other factors.

Scientists don't yet know for sure what causes prostate cancer. But some studies suggest that making the following choices may help protect you:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit fat, particularly animal fat.
  • Ask your doctor about aspirin.

Symptoms

Prostate cancer may not cause symptoms, and potential symptoms are often due to other problems, such as an enlarged prostate. To be safe, tell your doctor if you experience:

  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Pain in the upper thighs, hips or lower back
  • Not being able to urinate
  • Blood in the semen or urine
  • Painful ejaculation