Risk Factors and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Risk factors

Prostate cancer is a disease of the elderly male. The risk increases with increasing age. Age is the most important risk factor in prostatic cancer. Prostate gland enlargement , either due to benign or malignant causes, is common in elderly males.
African-American males are at an increased risk of when compared to white males. The size of the prostate tumors is also large in African-American males. This increased risk is attributed to a higher levels of testosterone seen in African-American males. Therefore it is advised to start screening in African-American males at an earlier age compared to the regular population.
Higher consumption of dietary fats such as α-linoleic acid commonly found in meat and certain vegetable oils is associated with an increased risk of prostatic cancer
Family history of prostatic cancer is also an important risk factor.

The above mentioned risk factors are important in all the cases of prostate cancer.

Some of the risk factors are important only in cases of fatal or aggressive cases. Studies have shown that the below mentioned risk factors are not significant in milder forms.

Recent history of smoking
Higher BMI ( Body mass index)
Increased intake of calcium, and
Taller height

Tomato sauce consumption and vigorous physical activity is found to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

Most of the symptoms are due to compression of urethra, the tube which carries urine and semen and runs the entire length of penis. Prostate enlargement, due to benign or malignant causes, leads to compression of urethra and obstruction to the flow of urine. The symptoms of prostate cancer can also be seen in other benign conditions of prostate like Benign prostatic hypertrophy(BPH) or prostatitis ( inflammation of prostate). Therefore the diagnosis of prostatic cancer has to be arrived after careful evaluation of other benign causes responsible for similar symptoms.

Feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder after urination
Increased frequency of urination
Difficulty to initiate and maintain the flow of urine, called hesitancy
Urgency – sudden, compelling urge to urinate
A weak urinary stream
Difficulty in getting erection
Nocturia , increased frequency of urination at night
Urine retention

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