Early prostate cancer is usually without symptoms and may be picked up incidentally during a routine examination of the rectum. With more advanced disease there may be difficulty passing urine. The cancer can spread to any organ or tissue in the body with the most common site of spread being the bone. As such a common symptom is bone pain.
There is no single cause of prostate cancer. It is thought that smoking and family history are among the contributory factors.
The prostate is located in front of the rectum. It can therefore be examined with a gloved finger in the rectum by a doctor. Apart from physical examination, blood tests (Prostate specific antigen or PSA) help to diagnose prostate cancer. To confirm prostate cancer, small pieces of tissue from the prostate gland are removed, and examined under the microscope. In order to find out the extent of prostate cancer, CT or MRI scans are performed. A bone scan is also done to see if the bones are affected as this is the most common site of spread.
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