Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 13% of all cancers.

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Risks and Prevention

1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Most cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 50, and the chance of being diagnosed continues to increase with age. Around 1 in 3 diagnoses are in men over the age of 75.

You are more likely to get prostate cancer if a close relative (father or brother) has had it. There are some other genetic factors that impact upon the risk of prostate cancer, but these cases are rare.

The risk of prostate cancer is higher in black men (1 in 4 black men will be diagnosed). It is not known why this is, but if you are a black man aged over 45, you should speak to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer. For more information click here.

Symptoms

There may be no obvious symptoms in early stage prostate cancer. Some cancers may only be detected during screenings, which you can read more about below.

Possible symptoms of prostate cancer include:

Needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night

Finding it difficult to start urinating, and/or a slow stream when you do urinate

Needing to urinate urgently

These symptoms can all be related to other prostate conditions, for example Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. Prostate concerns are common, particularly in older men, so any symptoms should be discussed with your GP.

Screening

PSA Test

This is a blood test that measures levels of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) in the blood. Raised levels of PSA can, but does not always, indicate the presence of prostate cancer. This test is not always reliable, and this is why there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer at present.

If you are over 50, you can request a free PSA test from your doctor, who will discuss the process with you, along with the pros and cons of testing. For more information about the PSA test please click here.

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

This is a physical examination in which a doctor will feel your prostate gland to check for any abnormalities that suggest you may have cancer. This test would usually be carried out alongside a blood test, to make sure you are getting an accurate diagnosis.

Prostate Biopsy

If your doctor thinks there is a chance you have prostate cancer, they may refer you for a biopsy. During a biopsy, a needle will be used to take small pieces of tissue from the prostate, which will be taken away for testing. This will confirm whether you have cancer, and how aggressive the disease is. You may hear this referred to as your Gleason Score- a measure of how likely the cancer is to grow.

Lingen Davies will be funding a new MRI-Guided Prostate Biopsy Machine for SaTH in 2017. This will be used where there is a strong reason to believe a patient has prostate cancer, but their first biopsy has not been conclusive. The MRI Guided machine is able to be more accurate, meaning that patients are diagnosed more quickly and do not have to undergo repeated biopsies during the process.

Support and Information

There are support groups and sources of information available if you are concerned about prostate cancer. To find a local support group please go to our support directory.

Your general health and wellbeing is important. You may find that holistic therapies, counselling or social activities help you to stay well during your experience with cancer. For information on local health and wellbeing services please click here.

For more information about prostate cancer here’s some useful links:

https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/prostate-cancer

More than 8 in 10 men will survive 10 years or more following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, the chance of successful treatment is much higher if the cancer is diagnosed early. So please:

  • Be aware of your own body and look out for any symptoms
  • Go and see your GP if you are concerned- remember, you are not wasting their time!