Okay, we know that we love to talk about the fun activities that surround the prostate gland. But today, we will shift gears a bit to talk about prostate health.
Here at GIDDI, we are always about pleasure, but there has to be more awareness regarding sexual and bodily health.
Today, we will dive into the five warning signs of prostate cancer. We are sharing this information so that you may stay vigilant in the future. However, we do understand this information can be overwhelming for some folx.
So, take a deep breath—knowledge is power, this is just informational. And if anything on here worries you, all you have to do is make an appointment with your healthcare provider, and discuss your concerns.
Why Prostate Health Matters
Minding your prostate health is essential, especially as you age. Per the American Cancer Society, about one in eight people with a prostate will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
If left unchecked or caught too late, prostate cancer could cause severe health conditions that may significantly worsen over time.
Five Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer
Before we dive in, it is essential to understand that these symptoms are not solely linked to prostate cancer. Just because you may be experiencing one or more of these symptoms DOES NOT mean you have prostate cancer. Symptoms like these are commonly related to other health conditions and should be checked immediately if you notice any signs.
If you are experiencing frequent urges to pee or need to go again shortly after peeing, this could be a cause of concern. Increased pressure introduced into the urinary tract could lead to symptoms like this.
It’s worth noting that this symptom can be indicative of other potential health conditions like UTIs and STIs, so it’s worth checking out even if you don’t see the other signs below.
Urination Control Issues
Do you have difficulty starting or stopping when you pee, have a weak urine flow, or have inconsistent urine flow? The trouble with urination control could be due to age, but when this symptom seems to come about faster than it would naturally, this may be cause for concern and warrants an appointment with a healthcare provider.
Burning Pee or Painful Ejaculation
Although this is most commonly linked to UTIs and STIs, you may feel discomfort throughout the urinary tract while peeing or ejaculating. Studies have shown that this is a common symptom found in prostate cancer patients.
Blood in Urine and Semen
This symptom is sometimes considered harmless and can be a side effect of certain medications or treatments. However, while common in people with prostate cancer, this isn’t a clear sign of prostate cancer. If you see blood in anything coming out of your penis, schedule an appointment with your urologist.
Sudden Erectile Dysfunction
Although ED happens to many folks gradually, especially as they get older, this symptom can also seem to come out of the blue, and that’s when it can be a sign that something is wrong.
Abnormalities like an enlarged prostate from inflammation or cancerous growths can cause sudden erectile dysfunction. Again, sudden erectile dysfunction can be the result of many factors and does not mean you have prostate cancer. It just means that you should get in touch with your health care provider and discuss the issue.
Other Things to Look Out For
Other accompanying symptoms include severe discomfort in the hips or the lower back and or painful erections.
A general rule of thumb is that a doctor's visit is in your future if you have issues below the waist. Especially around the nether regions.
We get it—this list may seem overwhelming. But here at GIDDI, we advise you to listen to your body—you know best about what’s normal and what’s out of place.
These symptoms can be expected, yes, but not set in stone. Nevertheless, if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, we highly recommend consulting a doctor.
Common Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
A few common risk factors are linked to various potential health conditions regarding age, diet, exercise, or other lifestyle choices. As you get older, generally, the risk factors increase.
A general list of risk factors linked to prostate cancer includes the following:
- Ethnic background
- Family history
- Unbalanced diet
- Weight issues
- Chemical exposures
Studies and authorities claim that a notably high number of African Americans have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Genetic predisposition is still an ongoing subject of research since there is sparse evidence without factors like the environment involved.
Booking Your Prostate Screening
What exactly is a screening? According to the CDC, a prostate screening is a test used to detect signs of issues or abnormalities in the prostate without signs or symptoms.
Screenings don’t have to be a result of seeing symptoms; in fact, the premise of screening is that it’s performed regularly as a proactive means of detecting disease early when it’s still treatable.
Prostate cancer can potentially be one of the most concerning types of cancer due to its fatality rates. Emphasizing the bottom line, doctors and researchers will tout that it is crucial to stay vigilant and start screening for early prostate cancer. Experts recommend starting screening as early as age 40 for folx who are at increased risk, and 45 for those who are not.
What Should I Screen For?
The next step after contacting your physician is the screening process, which may involve a digital examination, blood tests, or biopsies.
Digital Rectal Exam
Doctors use a digital rectal exam (DRE) to check the prostate. Because the prostate is inside the body, your doctor cannot see it visually. With a DRE, the doctor will insert a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities.
A digital rectal exam is a helpful way to begin a diagnosis of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Once a digital exam is done, the doctor can decide what further testing will need to be done.
PSA Blood Test
What this test looks for is prostate-specific antigens or PSAs. These proteins are produced by cells in the prostate gland, located beneath the bladder. Doctors will monitor these levels to check for risks of prostate cancer.
The higher the PSA levels, the higher the risk of developing cancer. There is no specific, set level that lets doctors definitively know there’s cancer in someone’s system, but doctors can use this data to decide if additional testing is needed.
Other Testing Options
If doctors are ready to proceed with further testing, they might order tests to lead to a more robust diagnosis.
One major test for prostate cancer is a prostate biopsy. This type of biopsy is a minor removal of tissue for doctors to study to find signs of cancer.
Balancing between options depends mostly on you and your doctor’s discretion. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to tell your doctor about your needs and comfort in this process. Finding testing that aligns with your comfort level will make this process a lot easier and less stressful, which can make you more inclined to complete regular screening.
Are There Any Health Benefits to Prostate Stimulation?
Research shows that regularly milking the P-Spot or massaging the prostate to release prostatic fluid can help reduce the potential risks of developing prostate cancer. Releasing prostate fluid flushes out the glands and helps relieve redness, swelling, and pressure in the pelvic region.
At GIDDI, we want to make sure you have at least a general idea about prostate cancer and its symptoms. Prostate cancer is an important thing to be aware of, especially since early detection can be the difference between a good and bad outcome.
Feeling anxious about an upcoming doctor’s visit is normal. This subject matter is heavy, and the anxiety around possible symptoms of prostate cancer can weigh heavily.
Take a breath — you’ve got this, and you are doing the right thing for your health.
If you have further questions regarding keeping a healthy prostate, ask your doctor or a urologist about best practices. Your doctor or urologist will provide recommendations specific to you and your health history.
Tests to Diagnose and Stage Prostate Cancer | American Cancer Society
What Should I Know About Screening for Colorectal Cancer? | CDC
Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer | American Cancer Society
4 Things Black Men Should Know about Prostate Cancer | MSKCC
Symptom self‐management strategies in patients with non‐metastatic prostate cancer - Hsiao - 2014 - Journal of Clinical Nursing | Wiley Online Library
Evaluation of an At-Home-Use Prostate Massage Device for Men with Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms | Columbia University Medical Center
American Cancer Society Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Early Detection | American Cancer Society