Men of all ages should seriously consider what they can do to reduce their risk of prostate cancer. In addition to reducing controllable risks, knowing the symptoms of the disease will make it easier to detect cancer in the early stages.
Fortunately, most of the lifestyle variables associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer are similar across most cancers. This means the changes you make can reduce your risk of various types of cancer and other illnesses. Adopting a low-fat diet with more of a focus on high-fiber, complex carbohydrates is important. Eating a colorful diet by incorporating more fruits and vegetables is also helpful. This way of eating also aids weight management, which is important since men with a higher BMI tend to have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Incorporate multiple forms of exercise, such as cardio and strength-training, to maintain a healthy BMI. This will also maintain a healthy body fat percentage.
Some types of testing may be useful in determining your risk of developing prostate cancer, whereas others are used for men of a certain age as a screening tool. Generally, screening is not started until age 50, but you should discuss with your doctor any family history that can make screening necessary at an earlier age. Before age 50, you may want to have a test for HPV and any genetic mutations that are correlated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Testing positive for HPV or certain genetic mutations does not guarantee you will develop cancer, but it does mean you need to be vigilant about screenings. Your doctor might recommend a baseline PSA screening before 50 if you have an elevated risk.
Many of the symptoms associated with prostate cancer are the same for benign enlargement of the prostate and other unrelated medical conditions. The most obvious prostate cancer symptoms will be changes in urination. You may need to visit the bathroom frequently, especially at night. Although you may have strong urge to urinate, your urine stream may be slow or stop and start. Any type of enlargement of the prostate that compresses the urethra can contribute to these symptoms. Other symptoms include pain during urination and in extreme cases, blood in the urine. Any unusual symptoms should be evaluated by your doctor. If your prostate is enlarged and your PSA test is elevated, there can be concerns about the development of prostate cancer.
Although prostate cancer generally occurs in middle-aged men and older, it's never too early to start thinking about your risk factors. Adopting a healthier lifestyle and knowing your personal risk of prostate cancer can make you more vigilant as you age.