Prostate Cancer


Around one in nine men will develop prostate cancer at some point during his lifetime. Despite these alarming statistics, there’s some good news. Not only is prostate cancer slow to develop, but it can also be detected early and treated with screening exams. We understand that a prostate cancer diagnosis can difficult to face. Mercy’s gastrointestinal cancer experts are dedicated to addressing your cancer needs all the way from diagnosis to treatment.

What’s Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among American men, second only to skin cancer. Prostate cancer develops in your prostate, a gland found only in men. When prostate cancer occurs, it can sometimes spread to the nearby seminal vesicles. If prostate cancer is found early, when it’s still only in the prostate gland, treatment has a greater chance of succeeding. 

Types of Prostate Cancer


Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of prostate cancer that forms in glandular cells. These types of cells are found in the tissue of certain internal organs, including the prostate, which makes substances vital to the body. 

Small-Cell Carcinoma

The American Urological Association estimates that small-cell carcinoma makes up approximately 1% of all prostate cancer diagnoses. However, it can spread to other parts of the body quicker than adenocarcinoma, making it more difficult to treat if not caught early. 

Recurrent Prostate Cancer

When prostate cancer has returned following initial treatment, it’s known as recurrent prostate cancer. However, not all forms of recurrence are the same. You’ll want to talk with your Mercy doctor to determine if your recurrent prostate cancer is considered low-risk or high-risk.

Prostate Cancer Causes & Risk Factors

Although the exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown, the disease may be related to pre-cancerous changes in the cells of the prostate. Other than your diet, most prostate cancer risk factors are out of your control. Prostate cancer risk factors include:


Your risk rises rapidly after age 50. Around 60% of prostate cancer cases are found in men older than 65.

Race / Ethnicity

Your race may be a risk factor for developing prostate cancer. For instance, prostate cancer is more common among African American men than men of other races.

Family History & Inherited Gene Mutations

About 5 to 10% of prostate cancers are hereditary, meaning the cancer is caused by an inherited gene. Men with immediate family members who have had prostate cancer have twice as high a risk of developing it. If several of your relatives have had prostate cancer, especially if they were diagnosed at a young age, your risk is much higher.


Men whose diet is high in red meat and/or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer. However, being overweight doesn’t appear to be a significant risk factor for prostate cancer.

High Testosterone Levels

An increase in testosterone levels stimulates the growth of the prostate gland, making some men more susceptible to prostate cancer. 

Risk Factors to Watch Out For

Mercy’s Dr. Gautum Agarwal discusses risk factors and prostate cancer screening options.

Signs & Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Signs and symptoms don’t often show up until prostate cancer is already at an advanced stage. As the cancer becomes more advanced, prostate cancer signs may include:

  • Difficulty urinating, including a slow or weak stream
  • Frequent urination, especially during the night
  • Bloody urine or semen
  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • Pain or discomfort in your pelvic area

If prostate cancer has spread, symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the hips, spine and ribs
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control due to cancer pressing on the spinal cord 

Diagnosis & Treatment for Prostate Cancer

If you’re experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer, it can be overwhelming. Mercy is here to help with everything from diagnosis to treatment. 

Learn about prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

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