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When to Seek Medical Care

See your health care provider if you have any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Difficulty initiating and/or stopping a urine stream

  • Frequent urination

  • Pain on urination

  • Pain on ejaculation

You should undergo regular screening for prostate cancer.

 

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What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer affects mainly older men. Four out of five cases are diagnosed in men over 65, but less than 1% in men under 50. Though uncommon, prostate cancer can be seen in men even in their 30's and 40's. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to develop prostate cancer than the general population. On a case-by-case basis, doctors cannot say with certainty what causes prostate cancer, but experts generally agree that diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume large...

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  • 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed on October 16, 2005
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