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Men's Health

Prostate Cancer

Prevention - Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. When detected early, before it has spread to other organs, prostate cancer may be curable. A man's risk for prostate cancer increases with age, and most cases develop in men over 65. Since it tends to develop late in life and usually grows slowly, prostate cancer does not usually shorten a man's life. However, the younger you are and the larger or more advanced the cancer is, the more serious the disease may be.

There are no specific symptoms of prostate cancer. Most men have no symptoms at all. In a few cases, it can cause urinary symptoms very similar to those of prostate enlargement (See Prostate Enlargement). In advanced cases, other symptoms, such as pain, may develop if the cancer spreads to other organs or to the bones.

Prostate cancer sometimes runs in families, is more common in African-American men, and tends to be more common in men who eat a high-fat diet.


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Eating a low-fat diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is the only known way to reduce your risk for prostate cancer. There is some evidence that eating more foods that contain cooked tomatoes (7 to 10 servings per week) may decrease your risk for prostate cancer.

There is controversy about the value of using digital rectal exams and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen all men for prostate cancer. Using these tests to detect early prostate cancer may not improve quality of life or prolong life, especially in men who are older or have other serious health problems. Therefore, many experts are uncertain whether routine digital rectal exams or PSA tests are appropriate for all men. Talk with your doctor for more information about prostate cancer screening.

Home Treatment

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Prostate cancer treatment is tailored to each individual. Work with your doctor to be sure that you will receive the long-term benefits from the treatment you choose.

Learn all you can about the available treatment options, which may include watchful waiting, so that

you and your doctor can select the one best suited for you. Your age, overall health, other medical conditions, and the characteristics of the cancer are all important factors to consider when you make treatment decisions.

When to Call a Health Professional

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  • If any urinary symptoms (see Prostate Enlargement on See Prostate Enlargement) come on quickly, are bothersome enough that you want help, or last longer than 2 months.

  • If you want to discuss screening for prostate cancer, especially if you have a relative who developed prostate cancer.

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