Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, with around 1 in 8 men in the UK being diagnosed with it at some point in their lifetime. With the condition mainly effecting men over 50, the risk of prostate cancer increases with age. That risk is even higher for men of an African or Caribbean descent and for those with a family history of prostate cancer.
So, what is the prostate?
The prostate is only found in men and is a small gland in the pelvis, located between the penis and the bladder, surrounding the urethra. The main purpose of the prostate is to make a white fluid that, when mixed with sperm from the testicles, creates semen.
What are the signs of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is usually symptomless until the prostate is large enough to affect the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the penis.
When this happens, you may:
- Have an increased urge to pee, peeing more throughout the day and multiple times through the night.
- Find that you strain when you pee.
- Feel like your bladder has not fully emptied.
- Have a poor flow.
Though they don’t always mean that you have prostate cancer, these symptoms should not be ignored.
Many men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms at all, which is why, if you have an increased risk, for example, if your father or brother has had prostate cancer, it’s important to talk to your GP.
Prostate Cancer Tests
If you think you may have prostate cancer, or are at an increased risk, please don’t be embarrassed to speak to your GP. Although there is no single test to detect prostate cancer, there are a number of checks to help diagnose the condition.
The most commonly used tests are:
Your GP will carry out the blood test and physical examination and if necessary, a specialist may arrange an MRI and/or a biopsy.
Early detection, why it’s important to visit your GP
98% of those who detect their prostate cancer early go on to live for over 5 years beyond their diagnosis, whereas only 26% of those who detect their prostate cancer late will go on to live beyond five years after their diagnoses. This is why it’s so important to visit your GP if you are showing any signs of prostate cancer, or if you are concerned that you fall into a high-risk category.
To find out more about prostate cancer, visit the NHS website. If you have any symptoms, don’t wait, contact your GP. If you are a patient at Morlais Health, you can make an appointment by calling us on 01685 385339.