FAQ Prostate Cancer Everything you always wanted to know
With over 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the UK every year, looking out for the signs could save your life. Sure, it may be an awkward subject to think about or discuss, but is it worth risking your health for some temporary cringing? Although prostate cancer mainly affects older men, any male can develop it, so below we've outlined everything you need to know - from symptoms to causes, and methods of treatment.
For further support and information, check out the links at the bottom of this article.
What are the symptoms?
Unfortunately, visible symptoms don't appear until the cancer is large enough to affect your urethra (the narrow tube which carries urine and semen from the bladder and ejaculatory ducts to, well, outside of your body) to the point that you experience problems with urination, such as an unusually frequent need to pee, sometimes desperately. Other related symptoms include:
- Struggling to push urine out
- straining to pee
- A weak flow
- The feeling that your body is not fully empty of urine
Of course, just because you are experiencing these symptoms, it doesn't mean that you definitely do have something seriously wrong with your body, but it's always best to make an appointment with your GP if you have any concerns.
What's the cause?
A number of things can increase your chances of developing prostate cancer. These include:
- Your age - the older you get, the more at risk you are. Most diagnoses occur in men over the age of 50.
- Your ethnicity - This form of cancer is more common in men of African descent than those of Asian descent.
- Your family history - If you have a brother or father who happened to develop prostate cancer before the age of 60, for some reason this can increase your chances of developing it. Research has also found that if a close female relative has had breast cancer, this too can increase your chances of developing prostate cancer.
- Weight - Research has found that there could be a link between obesity and prostate cancer. Those who exercise frequently have also been found to be at lower risk of developing it.
- Diet - It is possible that a diet high in calcium could increase the chances of developing prostate cancer.
Although the above factors can increase the likelihood of someone getting prostate cancer, the exact causes are in fact currently unknown.
How can I get diagnosed?
If you have any concerns, make an appointment to see your GP. Once you're at the clinic, the doctor will probably ask for a urine sample, take a blood test, and check your prostate. There are a number of other tests they may do too. Yes, we know it's not exactly a trip to the seaside, but once it's over you'll be glad you did it. Share any worries with your doctor - there's nothing they haven't seen!
Find out more about the tests that are likely to be carried out, over on the Cancer Research UK website.
How will it be treated?
Treatment will very much depend on your circumstance and how far along the cancer is. For a lot of people, no treatment will be necessary, but doctors will keep an eye on how it develops, only choosing to interfere if symptoms appear, or the cancer develops.
When deciding on treatment, doctors will look over a number of factors, including:
- The type and size of the cancer
- How developed and aggressive it is
- Your health
- whether the cancer has developed to other areas of your body
Find out about treatment options here.