ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Question

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

What should I look for as I age? This runs in my family and I want to make sure I?m doing everythign right.

Answer

Prostate cancer often carries very few symptoms until it is very advanced. This is why prostate cancer used to be very deadly. Today we have screening tools to find prostate cancer often at an early stage and we know more about who we should be screening and when. Prostate cancer screening is done with the PSA test. PSA is a protein found in the blood that increases in prostate cancer and a few other conditions. When we measure a PSA in a patient and its higher than normal, we usually do a biopsy of the prostate to look and see if there is cancer. PSA screening is an active area of debate right now. Suffice to say that while probably not all men should be screened, those that have a family history of prostate cancer, and African Americans (who are more likely to get it) should be screened probably starting when they're 40-50 years old. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss your family history of prostate cancer and decide when would be an appropriate time to start getting the PSA test. You should also ask your doctor for a pamphlet on the PSA test so you know all the risks and benefits it carries. Good luck.

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