More than 30 million men suffer from a prostate health problem, and prostate cancer is now the second-leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. Although it is common, early prostate cancer does not have symptoms and many men do not know they have it. The exact causes of prostate cancer are not known, but knowing the risk factors of prostate cancer can lead to screenings, early detection, and higher survival rates.
The three most common types of prostate problems are prostate cancer, prostatitis, and prostate enlargement. Men over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer; but other risk factors like genetics, race and diet increase that risk.
- The risk of developing prostate cancer doubles if there is a family history, especially if it has affected a father, brother or close blood relative
- Worldwide, African Americans have the highest rate of prostate cancer
- It is important to eat a healthy diet of whole foods high in fiber and low in fats
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that causes pain and discomfort. It is the most common prostate problem in men younger than 50. It can be an acute infection and come on suddenly or it can be chronic and come and go. Depending on the type of prostatitis, symptoms can vary – there might be a burning feeling when urinating, or feeling of a need to urinate more often; there can be lower back, abdominal, or pelvic pain; or include fever and fatigue.
Prostate enlargement is the most common prostate problem in men over 50. The problems begin when the prostate squeezes the urethra, narrowing the passage where urine flows and causing urinary problems. Some of these problems are:
- Frequent and urgent need to urinate or trouble starting a urine stream
- Weak urine stream
- Inability to completely empty the bladder and/or dribbling/leaking after urination