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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > M-P > Prostate Cancer
     
Prostate Cancer
 
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system.  When cancer starts in the prostate gland, it is known as prostate cancer.  With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Pennsylvania.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in Pennsylvania.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
 
Age – As men age, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases.
 
Family history – A man with a father, brother, or son that developed prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer.
 
Race – In some racial and ethnic groups, prostate cancer is more common. 
African-American men are at the highest risk.
 
What are the signs and symptoms?
 
Symptoms can vary among men with some showing no symptoms at all.  Some common symptoms men may have are:
 

Difficulty starting urination;

Weak or interrupted flow of urine;

Frequent urination, especially at night;

Difficulty emptying the bladder completely;

Pain or burning during urination;

Blood in the urine or semen;

Pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away; and

Painful ejaculation.

 
Are there prostate cancer tests?
There are two commonly used tests to screen for prostate cancer.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test – PSA is made by the prostate gland and can be measured through a blood test.  An elevated PSA level may indicate prostate cancer, but other medical conditions and procedures can also cause an elevated PSA level.
 

Digital rectal exam (DRE) - The test is performed by a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional.  A gloved finger is placed into the rectum to feel the size, shape and hardness of the prostate gland.

 
Are there screening guidelines for prostate cancer?
 
The American Cancer Society recommends having a discussion with their physician regarding the benefits and side effects of prostate cancer screening and treatment.

 
Resources
 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/index.htm
 
American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/lrn/lrn_0.asp  
 
Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network
http://www.ustoo.org/