One in eight men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime; it’s the most common form of cancer in men, with over 44,000 being diagnosed each year.
Many men don’t consider their prostate, until something goes wrong. But it’s worth knowing what it is, what to look out for and what to do if you’re worried.
The prostate is a gland that is only found in men, and sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube that men ejaculate and urinate through). The prostate is about the size of a walnut – however, as you age, it can grow bigger.
Men aged over 50 and with a family history of prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Black men are also at a higher risk. Staying a healthy weight, keeping active and eating a balanced diet could all help to reduce your risk of developing it.
Prostate cancer happens where there is an uncontrolled growth of cells within the prostate. Some forms of prostate cancer grow very slowly, and these may not cause many, or even any, problems. However some forms of the cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Treatment options vary from ongoing monitoring of the prostate to treatment with chemo- or radiotherapy to radical surgery to remove the prostate. Monitoring the prostate can be done via the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. This can help to detect changes in the size in the prostate, but is not specific for cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with prostate or any other form of cancer, you are not alone; your GP can offer support and your hospital will have specialist nurses to talk to.
Charities like Prostate Cancer UK and Macmillan will support you and your family through your treatment.
The main symptoms associated with prostate cancer can be similar to other prostate problems such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), where the prostate is enlarged but is not cancerous, as well as other medical conditions such as diabetes or urinary infections.
These symptoms usually relate to urinary symptoms such as needing to pass urine more often, feeling like you have to strain to pass urine, or that it can take time for the flow of urine to start or weaker flow when you do start to pass urine.
Some men might feel they need to rush to the bathroom to pass urine and some might feel they are unable to empty their bladders fully. Rarely you may experience blood in the urine or semen or pain on passing water.http://prostatecanceruk.org
You should always see your GP if you experience new urinary symptoms.
*March is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Visit http://prostatecanceruk.org for further information.