The causes

Although the causes of prostate cancer are unknown, there are some factors that are believed to increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Knowing the risk factors for prostate cancer can help you determine if and when you want to begin having check-ups. The main risk factors include the following:

  • Age: If you are 60 or older, or if you are over 50 years old with a family history of prostate cancer, your risk of prostate cancer increases significantly.

  • Family history: If your father, brother or son has prostate cancer, your risk of developing the disease is greater than average.

  • Diet: A high-fat diet and obesity may increase your risk of prostate cancer. One theory is that fat increases production of the hormone testosterone, which may promote the development of prostate cancer cells.

  • High testosterone levels: Since testosterone naturally stimulates the growth of the prostate gland, men who use testosterone therapy are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who have lower levels of the hormone.

The symptoms

These are the signs you should be aware of:

  • Difficulty in urinating

  • A painful or burning sensation when urinating

  • Blood in the urine

  • Urinating often, especially at night

  • Having to rush to the toilet on a regular basis to urinate

  • An inability to urinate, or experiencing a weak, interrupted flow of urine

  • Frequent pain in the lower back, hips and upper thighs

If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms, you may have problems with your prostate, however, the early stages of prostate cancer often have no symptoms and it can go unnoticed. To ensure early detection, talk to your doctor about your risk.

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