Prostate Cancer in Younger Men – Early Signs to NEVER Ignore
Although a prostate cancer diagnosis is most common in men over 65, earlier onset prostate cancer is on the rise worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of prostate cancer diagnoses are in men under 55. Still, with the increasingly younger incidence, urologic health experts are working feverishly to get to the bottom of the cause. Some believe that genetics has the most decisive influence on early-onset prostate cancer risk throughout a man’s lifetime. In contrast, others believe that lifestyle (obesity) and environmental (cancer-causing pollutants in the world around us) factors significantly influence prostate cancer development. Both factors likely have a part in influencing a man’s prostate cancer risk, but as always, we are delving deeper to find out more.
No matter the underlying reason why a younger man might develop prostate cancer, the statistics indicate that when he does, the cancer is more likely to be diagnosed at a later, more advanced stage. Additionally, younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a statistically lower survival rate than middle-aged or older men who develop the disease. With this sobering knowledge, younger men need to know that prostate cancer should and cannot be viewed as an “old man’s disease.”
Because prostate (and most other) cancer types are best treated and curable at their earliest stages, every man must know what to watch out for if there’s a problem with the prostate. While erectile and ejaculatory problems can be early indicators of prostate cancer, a man’s bathroom habits can often serve as the earliest warning signs of prostate problems. These are five urinary symptoms that can present themselves as early prostate cancer indicators:
Changes in urinary frequency – most people with healthy urinary habits will urinate 6-7 times daily. If you urinate more often than this, especially if the onset is sudden, there may be a problem.
Burning/painful urination – when a person urinates normally, there should be essentially no sensation other than the feeling of the urine passing through the urethra. If you are experiencing pain or burning while you urinate, there is a problem.
Urinary incontinence – though the ability to “hold” your urine tends to decrease as you age, urinary incontinence is not normal, especially in younger men. If you cannot get to the bathroom in time to pee or dribble urine at any point during the day, there is a problem.
Difficulty controlling urine flow – as is accurate with urinary continence, a decreased ability to control urine flow can be common in older men. Still, it isn’t “normal,” especially for younger men. If you go to the bathroom and find yourself unable to start or stop the urine flow once it begins, there may be a problem.
Blood in the urine – blood in the urine is never normal, full stop. This symptom warrants immediate medical attention.
While it is true that the above symptoms can indicate a variety of urologic health problems that aren’t prostate cancer, they ALL warrant a visit to a urologist for evaluation. The truth is that many men don’t realize that urinary symptoms that seem to be a nuisance are sometimes your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.
Especially for younger men who may not yet be candidates for an annual PSA examination due to their age, those yearly physical examinations are vitally important. These are the appointments where you can talk to your doctor about any symptoms you’re experiencing, especially urinary habits. You and your health care provider can decide the next steps to determine what’s up.
Just as you wouldn’t leave a check engine light glowing in your vehicle without a diagnostic check-up, you shouldn’t ignore these urinary health warning signs either. Prostate cancer does not discriminate based on age, and with younger men being diagnosed more frequently today, you owe it to yourself to get checked out. Always make your health a priority so you can avoid enjoy life’s wonderful ride.