March is Prostate Cancer awareness month. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is responsible for 25% of newly diagnosed cases of cancer in England and Wales.
The chances of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Although prostate cancer can sometimes occur in younger men, most cases develop in men aged 65 or older. Incidence of prostate cancer tends to be higher in Black African and Afro Caribbean men and those with a family history of the disease.
As part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, NHS South East Essex is urging local residents to ensure that they are aware of any noticeable symptoms and to seek advice.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Not all men get symptoms and not all men have exactly the same symptoms. The first signs (which are also symptoms of non-cancer prostate disease) are usually problems urinating:
- Needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
- Needing to rush to the toilet to pass urine
- Difficulty in starting to urinate or pee (hesitancy)
- Straining or taking a long time while urinating
- Weak flow
- Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
- Blood in the urine (but this is rare)
Other symptoms may include:
- Bone and back pain
- Pain when urinating or ejaculating
- Pain in the testicles
- Weight loss
Margaret Gray, Associate Director of Public Health for NHS South East Essex said:
“If you have any of these symptoms, I would encourage you to go to your GP so these can be investigated. Please do not let possible
embarrassment cause delay in seeking advice. Early diagnosis and detection can improve men’s chances of successful treatment.
The causes of prostate cancer are still unclear, but as with many types of cancer, adopting a healthier lifestyle – stopping smoking, a healthy
diet rich in fruit and vegetables and regular physical activity – can reduce risk.”
What Is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a small gland found only in men. It is below the bladder and is about the size of a walnut. It surrounds the tube that carries urine from the bladder (the urethra). It produces some of the fluid in semen, and is important to a man’s sex life.
The prostate may get bigger as men get older. This causes no problems for two out of three men over 50. But if the prostate gets bigger it can press on the urethra and cause urinary symptoms. This is called benign prostate disease or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It usually affects men over 50 but is not cancer, and it is treatable.
However, in some men these symptoms are caused by the abnormal growth of prostate cells, which results in prostate cancer.