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Signs You're Getting Prostate Cancer, Like Al Roker

Look out for these symptoms of the somewhat common cancer.

On Friday, TODAY weatherman and co-host Al Roker revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September. "It's a good news-bad news kind of thing," he said about his diagnosis. "Good news is we caught it early. Not great news is that it's a little aggressive, so I'm going to be taking some time off to take care of this." One of his main motivations for sharing the news is to raise awareness of the cancer, which impacts one out of nine men overall and one in seven African Americans, according to the American Cancer Society.

While prostate cancer can be treated in a variety of ways depending on severity—"surgery, radiation, focal therapy" per his physician, Dr. Vincent Laudone—he will be undergoing surgery to have the gland removed, as "his cancer appears somewhat limited or confined to the prostate" but "more aggressive." 

Who Is at Risk For Prostate Cancer?

All men are at risk for prostate cancer, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, 13 out of 100 American men will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime, while two to three will die as a result. Risk factors include age (the older a man is, the greater the probability he will get prostate cancer), family history of the condition, and race. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

According to Roker, his cancer was detected during a routine physical. Unfortunately, this is all too common. "It is rare for patients to present with symptoms attributed to prostate cancer,"  Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, explains to Eat This, Not That! Health. "Most are diagnosed at a local stage and asymptotic."

However, there are symptoms to look out for. "Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all," reveals the CDC. Here are the most common symptoms: 

  • 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.
  • Painful ejaculation.

Dr. Mareiniss notes that hematuria (blood in urine), could be an earlier sign, while "advanced disease can present with urinary retention, incontinence, weakness, weight loss, erectile dysfunction and bone pain."

RELATED: 8 Sure Signs You Have Cancer

When Should You Get Screened?

Due to the fact that some people don't experience symptoms, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all men between the ages of 55 and 69 talk to their doctors about being screened. However, the Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends African American men start the discussion at age 40, while the American Cancer Society recommends discussing screenings at age 45 for African Americans and also men who with a father or brother who were diagnosed with it before the age of 65.

Be sure to discuss the situation with a medical professional if you worry you're at risk, and no matter where you live, wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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