Could you spot the signs of prostate cancer? We consider the symptoms, risk factors and prevalence.
The facts about prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a common disease; around 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.1
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among British men and the second most common cancer overall in the UK.2
Over 47,000 men are diagnosed with the illness each year in the UK so if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer you are not alone.3
Often there are no symptoms in the early stages, and some people don't experience symptoms at all. Because of this, prostate cancer is often first noticed by a doctor during a routine checkup.
This means that awareness about prostate cancer and the need for regular prostate checks is hugely important to ensure that more people are being diagnosed earlier rather than later, when the chance of successful treatment is best.
If more people know about the disease, there will be a better fundraising effort which will help vital research into the disease. Here’s all you need to know about the illness and how you can help in the fight for greater awareness
What causes it?
The prostate is a small gland at the base of the bladder. It is about the size of a walnut and gets bigger as you get older.
Prostate cancer develops due to abnormal cells in the gland, which reproduce more rapidly than they should. This leads to a tumour forming.1
What are the symptoms?
Not everyone that has prostate cancer will experience symptoms, which is why cancer screening and prostate mapping are so important in helping to detect it.
The symptoms to look out for are:
- frequent need to urinate
- trouble starting to urinate or holding back the flow
- weak or interrupted flow of urine
- pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- difficulty getting an erection
- pain when ejaculating
- blood or urine in the semen
- frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs4
Who is at risk?
Anyone who has a prostate is able to develop prostate cancer.
This includes cisgender men, transgender women, non-binary people who were assigned male at birth, and some intersex people. If you are unsure, your doctor will be able to tell you.
There are certain people who are more likely than others to develop prostate cancer. These include:
- People over 50 years of age
- People with a family history of prostate cancer
- Black people5
Prostate cancer is most common in men over 50 and becomes more likely as you get older. Around 35% of new cases each year are in people aged 75 or over.3
If you are black, or have a brother or father who has had the disease, you are around 2.5 times as likely to develop prostate cancer.5
There also seems to be an increased risk among families with history of breast cancer.1
There is also some evidence that obesity is a risk factor for prostate cancer, and that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce your risk.6
Whether you fall into one of these demographic groups or not, it is wise to educate yourself on the symptoms so you can spot the signs.
Why is early detection so important?
If prostate cancer is detected in the early stages, three is a 98% chance of survival beyond 5 years.
If the disease is not diagnosed until the later stages, the survival rate beyond 5 years drops to 26%.
Early detection is one of the most important tools in the fight against prostate cancer.7
What can I do to look after myself?
The exact causes of prostate cancer are not yet fully understood, so the best way to help yourself is to look out for the symptoms and get checked out if you notice anything unusual.
If you have any concerns about prostate cancer or would like to discuss treatments please speak to a BMI Healthcare consultant at one of our hospitals or treatment centres.
To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337
or make an online enquiry.