Prostate cancer is typically viewed as a disease that is more prominent among older men. And for the most part that’s largely true. The average age of prostate cancer diagnosis is 66, and about 60 percent of new cases occur in men aged 65 and older, according to the National Cancer Institute. Despite the statistics however rates are rising among younger men. For example, prostate cancer diagnosis among young men is still rare: The rates of prostate cancer diagnosis among men aged 35 to 29 are about 1 in 100,000. If you’re a man in your mid-50s or younger, here are a few things to consider.
It Can Be More Aggressive In Younger Men
Younger men don’t routinely undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and rectal exams until the recommended age of about 50. Prostate cancer in men usually has no physical symptoms in its earlier stages. As a result, if aggressive prostate cancer is eventually diagnosed in men younger than 55, it has often already progressed to a later-stage cancer and is therefore more difficult to treat.
Prostate cancer is a highly treatable disease, particularly in its earlier stages. While a PSA level at or below 4.0 ng/mL has traditionally been considered normal, the American Cancer Society suggests yearly testing for men with a PSA of 2.5 or higher in addition to having a digital rectal exam (DRE). If you are over age 40, speak with your doctor about your personal risk factors and determine if PSA testing is appropriate for you. You shouldn’t undergo screening until you fully understand the benefits and drawbacks of testing.
Symptoms To Take Notice Of
Symptoms of prostate cancer are generally the same regardless of the patient’s age. In its early stages, prostate cancer will likely produce no symptoms at all. With a more advanced form of prostate cancer, symptoms can include:
- More frequent urges to urinate during the night
- A weak urine stream or trouble starting and stopping the flow of urine
- A burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
Bone pain in the hips, back, ribs and other areas can also indicate prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) beyond the prostate. Talk to your health care provider if any of these issues arise.
Family History of Prostate Cancer Can Be a Factor
If you have a family history of prostate cancer (father, brother, uncle or grandfather), talk to your primary care physician about prostate cancer screening. Men with a family history of the disease have a risk that’s two to three times higher than the general population.