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As men grow older, they experience the normal age-related, noncancerous enlargement of the prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH). As the prostate enlarges, it can crowd the urinary pathway and make urination more difficult. Once men reach the age of 40, they may start to notice changes in urination, which can include slowing of the urinary stream and increased frequency of urination both day and night.
Prostate cancer, when it first begins and is in its early stages, may not cause any symptoms. Urinary symptoms may be present, but they are usually due to the prostatic enlargement described above. The best way to detect prostate cancer at its early stage is with screening, which currently includes an annual digital rectal exam (also called a DRE) and a PSA blood test.