What You Need To Know About Prostate Cancer

September is prostate awareness month so Australia's Cancer Council 'Get Checked' campaign is the perfect opportunity to discuss with the men in your life, Husbands, Fathers, Mates, Lovers, Brothers, Uncles and Grandparents, the health of their prostate.

The prostate is a fundamental organ within the male reproduction system, about the size of a walnut. Sitting below the bladder near the rectum, it is attached to the urethra. The male hormone allows the prostate to grow and develop with age. With increasing age this growth can causes difficulty urinating and other aliments, however these symptoms are not necessarily symptoms of prostate cancer.

These statistic provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia outline prostate disease's surprising prevalence in Australia.

—In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.

—More than 3,000 men die of prostate cancer in Australia every year.

—More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer.

Getting checked is as simple as a visit to your General Practitioner.

The early stages of prostate cancer show no obvious symptoms. This stage of the disease is when it is most preventable, offering the highest hope for non-evasive treatment and recovery. So don't neglect a check up, especially if you're in the following demographics vulnerable to prostate problems.

The two key demographics most susceptible to the risks of prostate cancer are men in their forties with a hereditary history of prostate complications and men over the age of fifty.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia experiencing the following symptoms are sufficient to get in touch with your Doctor:

— Feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate

— Finding it difficult to urinate (for example, trouble starting or not being able to urinate when the feeling is there or poor urine flow)

— Discomfort when urinating

— Finding blood in urine or semen

— Pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips.

This first step in the process of detection is a conventional blood test, where a specific protein is reviewed.

Depending on the prominence of this protein, there may be a need for a follow up investigation with a specialist, which includes a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) to assess potential abnormalities with the prostate.

If there are abnormalities, a non-evasive biopsy is required, where a tiny sample is taken of the prostate to be tested. This is the only way for prostate cancer to be diagnosed, and malignant or benign cells are identified.

If caught early on, the cancer may be non-aggressive, leaving the greatest chance for treatment and recovery.

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