What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with over 120 men diagnosed every day.
The prostate lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube men urinate through). It is usually the size of a walnut and grows larger with age.
What are the causes for Prostate Cancer?
The specific causes of prostate cancer are unknown; however, we can tell you certain things that increase the risk of it. The risk of prostate cancer increases which age and is more common in men older than 50 years old. Prostate cancer is also more common in men of African-Caribbean decent and in those who have first-degree male relatives that have had it.
What are the symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer often develops slowly, therefore can take many years before there are any signs. Commonly, it is first detected when the prostate enlarges so much so that it affects your ability to pass urine. This can lead to increased frequency of urination, particularly during the night and increased feeling of urgency. Other common symptoms include having difficulty starting to urinate, straining whilst urinating, weak flow, dribbling and the feeling that you haven’t completely emptied your bladder.
Less common symptoms can include pain when urinating or ejaculating and blood in the urine or semen. It is important to realise that these symptoms could be related to other causes such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is not the same as prostate cancer. BPH is condition that involves the enlargement of the prostate common in men over 50 years old.
How is Prostate Cancer treated?
There are different treatment options available depending on what stage the cancer is at.
In its early stage, if the prostate cancer isn’t giving you any symptoms then your doctor may adopt a “watchful waiting” policy. This is in part due to the fact that many treatment options can have side effects such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence so many men choose to delay this until they are experiencing more severe symptoms. Alternatively, it made be treated by surgically removing the prostate, radiotherapy or hormone therapy.
In the later stage, the cancer can spread around the body, most commonly to the bones which can lead to pain in your back, hips or pelvis. In this case, it is likely that the cancer cannot be cured and therefore the focus of treatment will be on relieving symptoms and prolonging life.