Even though prostate cancer is the most common cancer type to affect men only, most men with prostate cancer don’t die from it. Because it’s a slow-growing cancer, catching prostate cancer early increases the chances that you can cure it.
At Enrich Family Practice in Odessa, Texas, our expert nurse practitioners urge you to pay attention to men’s health, so you can stay ahead of prostate cancer. If you feel pain, heaviness, or pressure in your pelvis, here’s what to know about that symptom and your prostate cancer risk.
Pay attention to pain
Prostate cancer often doesn’t have any symptoms at all. That’s why it’s important to get screened regularly for prostate cancer, based on your age, individual risk, and family history.
If you have uncomfortable symptoms, such as pelvic pain or pressure, don’t wait before getting an evaluation to find out what’s causing your pain. Although many different conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can cause pain or pressure in your pelvis, pain related to prostate cancer could be a sign of advanced disease.
Chronic pain is always a sign that something isn’t right in your body. You may have an infection that needs to be cleared. Or, you could have a digestive disease that needs treatment. The sooner you find out why you have pain, the sooner you can get treatment and, possibly, a cure.
Is your pain deep and dull?
Unlike pulling a groin muscle, which can cause sharp, acute pain, pain due to advanced prostate cancer tends to have other characteristics. In fact, chronic pelvic pain could be a sign that your cancer has metastasized to your bones or other organs.
Some men liken the pelvic pain of prostate cancer to that of a toothache. The pain seems to originate from deep within the body, rather than on its surface, and many describe it as dull and heavy. It feels different from overuse pain, or general soreness.
You may also feel pain in surrounding regions, too, including your ribs, back, and groin. Any pain that lasts for more than a few weeks should be investigated.
Do you have other symptoms, too?
All the symptoms of prostate cancer, including pelvic pain, are shared by many other benign conditions. However, even if your condition is benign, you still deserve to find relief from symptoms such as:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Weak or sporadic urine flow
- Burning during urination
- Difficulty emptying bladder
- Blood in urine
- Blood in semen
- Painful ejaculation
Pelvic pain on its own is a reason to undergo screening for prostate cancer. If you have pelvic pain plus at least one other symptom, don’t delay getting a thorough examination.
Be sure to screen on time
Because prostate cancer grows slowly, if you undergo regular cancer screenings, you increase the chances of a total cure. Even if your pelvic pain is a sign of prostate cancer, if you recently screened negative for the disease, then your tumor is probably still small enough to be completely removed.
We recommend a prostate cancer screening schedule based on your family history, personal history, and age. According to the American Cancer Society, you should undergo your first prostate cancer screening at age:
- 40, if more than one first-degree relative (father or brother) had prostate cancer before age 65
- 45, if you’re African American, or at least one first-degree relative had prostate cancer before 65
- 50, if you’re at average risk (all other men)
Prostate cancer screening consists of a digital rectal exam (DRE) as well as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. How often you screen after your baseline test depends on your PSA levels:
- Every year, if your PSA is 2.5 ng/mL or higher
- Every two years, if your PSA is less than 2.5 ng/mL
Don’t ignore pelvic pain, or worry (perhaps unnecessarily) that you have prostate cancer without getting a definitive diagnosis and a customized treatment plan. Call us today at 432-200-9052 for a men’s health exam or PSA test, or reach out online.