After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Canadian’ men and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer deaths. The good news is that reliable diagnostic tests and numerous treatment options are available and death rates from prostate cancer are on the decline.

Although the symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the conditions are not related. Having BPH neither increases nor decreases a man’s risk of prostate cancer. In addition, it is possible for a man to have both conditions at the same time.�

Just how common is Prostate Cancer

According to Prostate Cancer Canada one in seven men will develop prostate cancer some time during his lifetime. Despite a five year survival rate of 96 per cent, over 4,100 men will die from prostate cancer this year. Prostate cancer accounts for more than one quarter of new cancer cases among men.

Prostate Warning signs that should be seen by a doctor.�

Like many other types of cancer, prostate cancer can sneaks up on men. In the early stages, men may have no symptoms. Later, symptoms can include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  • Weak or interrupted urinary stream
  • impotence problems
  • Painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation

All of the above however, are symptomatic of several prostate conditions. Doctors often first detect trouble with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test or digital rectal examination. However, these tests aren’t specifically for cancer, rather, they detect problems with the prostate. Further testing is needed to pinpoint the problem. It isn’t until a tumour is big enough to cause the prostate gland to swell,or the cancer spreads, that symptoms appear.

Diet seems to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, which is much more common in countries where meat and high-fat dairy are mainstays. The reason for this link is unclear. Dietary fat, particularly animal fat from red meat, may boost male hormone levels. And this may fuel the growth of cancerous prostate cells. A diet too low in fruits and vegetables may also play a role.

Family history increases a man’s risk: having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles the risk. African-Canadians are at high risk and have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. Growing older is the greatest risk factor for prostate cancer, particularly after age 50. After 70, studies suggest that most men have some form of prostate cancer, though there may be no outward symptoms.