Welcome to Giddy's series for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Each week, we will tackle a different aspect of prostate cancer and shed light on common misconceptions. This week, let's take a look at symptoms.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Symptoms
When something isn't right with your body, you tend to notice. When prostate cancer is a possibility, it's important to take note of any possible symptoms you may experience. If you have a prostate, you're at risk for prostate cancer, as 1 in 8 men will receive a diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. So, what symptoms are indicative of this common disease?
Take our quiz—don't worry, you have a 50-50 chance on every question, and we let you change your answer one time on each—and find out what possible symptoms should be on your radar. You'll find links to content elsewhere on the Giddy site and to relevant studies and cancer organizations.
Our goal isn't to stump you with difficult questions. It's to inform and enlighten as part of the mission of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which spans September. If you missed them, take the Risk Factors quiz and the Prevention quiz. And come back next week for Testing & Treatment.
False. You might have an abnormal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level—one potential indicator of prostate cancer—without experiencing any of the symptoms associated with prostate cancer. In fact, it is not unusual for someone to be diagnosed with prostate cancer without experiencing any symptoms. This is often good news because it increases the chances your prostate cancer is localized or regional, and can be successfully treated. It's also not unusual for someone with a high PSA level to be free of cancer.
True. These symptoms may include difficulty urinating, frequent urgency, pain when urinating or blood in the urine. If you're experiencing any of these, it might indicate prostate cancer, but it also might mean something else, including the amount of your alcohol or caffeine intake. While cancer could be a possibility, urinary problems may also indicate benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), kidney stones or a urinary tract infection (UTI), among other ailments. Don't automatically make the mental leap to cancer, but don't ignore the symptoms, either.
False. Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to consistent difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection sufficient for intercourse. While this issue is a symptom of prostate cancer, it's also present in millions of men without prostate cancer. The older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from ED, but don't let negative feelings about the condition make you automatically decide it's prostate cancer.
True. While soreness in the groin can be related to a number of harmless causes, such as your latest workout, chronic soreness can potentially be a symptom of prostate cancer. When any type of cancer spreads, one of its common strategies is to attack nearby lymph nodes and then spread to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system, which is a network of glands that your body uses to regulate fluids and fight infection. Your groin is home to many lymph nodes, and men with undiagnosed prostate cancer may notice soreness, swelling or pain in the area, as cancer prevents the glands from draining fluid normally, a condition also known as lymphedema. This pain can also manifest in the hips, back and ribs, according to prostatecancer.net.
False. As with most other forms of cancer, prostate cancer can lead to unexplained weight loss, but it is usually in tandem with one or more symptoms. Another related sign may be a loss of appetite or diminished interest in food as the disease spreads to other parts of the body, but a loss of appetite can point to less serious issues, too.
True. As cancer in the prostate grows, it can cause irritation and inflammation, which may lead to the appearance of blood in your semen. You might see blood in your ejaculate due to other possible reasons, such as prostatitis, a noncancerous inflammation of the prostate, but mention it to your doctor in any case.