Prostate cancer

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
The prostate (PROSS-tate) gland, located at the base of a man's bladder, produces seminal fluid. Cancer of the prostate is the second leading cause of cancer in men, and is more prevalent in African-American men. Prostate cancer may produce no symptoms so it's important to be screened for the disease with a yearly digital rectal exam after age forty and after fifty, an annual prostate specific antigen [an-tuh-jun] blood test, too. Those at high risk may want to be tested earlier. When symptoms do appear, they include difficulty in starting or stopping the urinary stream; inability to urinate; a frequent need to urinate; and pain or burning when urinating. You may also notice blood in the urine, or have consistent pain in the lower back or pelvis. When detected early, it has a high cure rate. Treatment options depend on factors like the patient's age and health, and the stage of the cancer, and may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or possibly hormone therapy. Because this cancer tends to grow slowly, more men tend to die with prostate cancer than of prostate cancer. So if the patient is elderly, a doctor may suggest 'watchful waiting,' in which progress of the disease is carefully monitored. For more information about prostate cancer, contact a healthcare specialist.

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