The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It makes most of the semen that carries sperm. The walnut-sized gland is located beneath the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder.
Prostate cancer is a major health concern for American men. The disease is rare before age 50, and experts believe that most elderly men have traces of it.
In 2013, about 238,500 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S., and about 29,700 will die...
Men aged 50 years and older should undergo a yearly digital rectal examination and blood testing for prostatic specific antigen (PSA).
Men in the high-risk group, such as those with a family history of prostate cancer or of African American ethnicity, should begin screening as early as age 40 years.
Go to the nearest hospital emergency department right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
Urinary tract infection - Burning pain on urination, urgency, frequent urination, especially with fever
Bladder obstruction - Not urinating or urinating very little despite drinking enough fluid; producing little urine despite straining; pain due to a full bladder
Acute kidney failure - Not urinating or urinating little, with little discomfort, despite drinking enough fluid
Deep bone pain, especially in the back, hips, or thighs, or bone fracture - Possible sign of advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones
Spinal cord compression is a true emergency and may be the first sign of cancer. It occurs when the cancer has spread to vertebrae of the spine and tailbone region. The weakened vertebrae can collapse on the spinal cord, causing symptoms and problems with function.
Symptoms depend on the level at which the spine is compressed.
Typical symptoms that might signal acute spinal cord compression include weakness in the legs and difficulty walking, increased difficulty urinating or moving your bowels, difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels, and decreased sensation, numbness, or tingling in the groin or legs.
These are often preceded by pain in the hip (usually one sided) or back lasting a few days or weeks.
Such symptoms require immediate evaluation in the nearest hospital emergency department. Failure to be treated immediately can result in permanent spinal cord damage.
Author: Hardik C Soni, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King Jr/Charles Drew Medical Center.
Coauthor(s): Eugene Hardin, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science; Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King, Jr/Drew Medical Center.
Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Jerry Balentine, DO, Professor of Emergency Medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine; Medical Director, Saint Barnabas Hospital.