According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 9 men will get diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 2019, it was expected that there would be over 174,000 new cases of prostate cancer, with nearly 32,000 men dying from the disease this year alone.

If you are a man who is concerned about prostate cancer and would like to know more, here are some answers to three frequently asked questions.

What Things Increases My Risk of Getting Prostate Cancer?

When it comes to cancer, certain things can increase the risk of getting it. For example, prolonged exposure to the sun can increase one's chances of getting skin cancer.

Besides being a man, some things that increase the chances of getting prostate cancer include:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Having a family history of the disease
  • Exposure to a chemical used during the Vietnam War called Agent Orange
  • Being obese and having certain eating behaviors

If any of the above risk factors apply to you, it doesn't mean you will get prostate cancer. These risk factors simply increase your chances of getting the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

It's important to be aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer. The earlier you notice them, the easier it can be to treat the disease. Some early warning signs and symptoms to look for include:

  • Having to urinate more frequently than usual
  • Having a weak urine flow or needing to strain to empty the bladder
  • Blood in the urine or seminal fluid
  • Experiencing erectile dysfunction

In some instances, an enlarged prostate can make it uncomfortable to sit. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test done as soon as possible.

How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Sometimes cancer will only need to be treated if it grows or starts causing symptoms. If the cancer is not being treated, PSA levels need to be monitored closely. When treatment is necessary, some of the options include:

  • Prostatectomy — a surgical procedure to remove the prostate
  • Radiation therapy — used to kill cancer cells
  • Cryotherapy — freezes and kills cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy — oral or intravenous medications that shrink or kill the cancer

Some men diagnosed with prostate cancer also use complementary types of treatment, which include acupuncture and taking certain vitamins or supplements. It should be noted that complementary treatments are used in addition to standard types of cancer treatment and may or may not be beneficial.

For more information, contact a local prostate cancer specialist.