Prostate Cancer: Truth and Facts


Heard of a friend or family member diagnosed with prostate cancer recently?

By Dr Philip Tan 

As life expectancy in the Western world increases, the incidence of prostate cancer is on the rise. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer excluding skin cancers affecting American men today. According to statistics provided by the Mayo Clinic, up to three-quarters of 80 year-old men have prostate cancer. Most never know it, many times dying of something unrelated to the prostate cancer. The average age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 68.

Signs and symptoms

I am waking up frequently overnight to urinate – is this prostate cancer?
The good (and bad) news is most prostate cancers do not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Although passing urine frequently overnight is often associated with non-cancerous conditions, a visit to your doctor for a prostate check is a good idea. Consequently, prostate cancer may easily go undetected during this time when treatment would be most successful.
Prostate cancer checks often include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
When signs and symptoms of prostate cancer develop, they may include the following (many of which are also associated with non-cancerous conditions):

Urinary symptoms
• Sudden need to urinate
• Frequent urination at night
• Difficulty starting to urinate
• Pain during urination
• Weak urine flow and dribbling
• Intermittent urine flow
• Blood in your urine

Other symptoms
• A dull pain in your lower pelvic area
• Pain with ejaculation
• Pain with bowel movements
• General pain in your lower back, hips or upper thighs
• Persistent bone pain
• Abdominal pain
• Loss of appetite and weight
• Incontinence
• Anemia
• Lethargy
• Blood in the semen

Dr Philip Tan is an Australian trained medical practioner currently living in Melbourne. He attained his Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery in 2002 from The University of Melbourne. Dr Tan is a current surgical trainee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Dr Tan has an interest in the field of Urology and is the editor of

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