In this article we will be discussing the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.
Many of these symptoms are common and do not mean that you have prostate cancer. If you have any symptoms or concerns speak to your GP.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate gland is only found in men and grows larger as you get older. Sitting underneath the bladder and surrounding the urethra, the main function of the prostate is to help produce semen.
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate reproduce more quickly than normal, creating a tumour. If left untreated these cancerous cells can then spread throughout the body resulting in secondary tumours.
Am I at risk?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found in men. Although your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, it’s not a disease that only affects older males.
Black males and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at a higher risk, so it is important to speak to your GP about a PSA test if you are age 45 or over. Men not in these categories are recommended to request a PSA test when they reach 50.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
A digital rectal exam can be performed by your GP. A lubricated and gloved finger will be inserted into your rectum; your GP will be able to feel the prostate to see if the surface has changed.
This can be uncomfortable but should not cause any pain.
A PSA test is a routine blood test. The blood will then be analysed to detect the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) present. From this the likelihood of cancer can be assessed.
Your GP may refer you for an MR Scan of the prostate. This scan can help see if there is any cancer inside the prostate and also assist in determining the rate of growth.
Find out more about prostate MRI scans.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
Often prostate cancer does not have any symptoms but signs can include:
A need to urinate frequently, particularly at night
Difficultly starting to urinate
Pain or burning when urinating
Blood in urine or semen
If you have any of these symptoms speak to your GP. There are also many other common causes of these; it does not mean that you have prostate cancer.
If you are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, there are many different treatment options available. Prostate cancers grow slowly and you may not need surgery or treatment right away.
Treatment options include:
The importance of early detection
If prostate cancer is detected early you have a 98% chance of surviving beyond 5 years. If found late this drops to only 26%.
If you have any of the signs highlighted above it is vital that you speak to your GP. The earlier the detection, the higher the chance of survival.