– Barney Chappell, Consultant Urologist
Roughly 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, and the risk increases with age – if you are aged 50 and over, you should be especially alert to the risk. There are now many more options for diagnosing and treating prostate cancer – a consultation with a specialist is an excellent way to assess your situation and help to ensure you’re taking well-informed decisions.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. Roughly 400,000 people – men – in the UK are living with (or after) prostate cancer. Raising awareness around this issue is crucial. As with all cancers, an early diagnosis is invaluable, but all too often this doesn’t happen.
What’s stopping early diagnoses?
It has long been known that men are significantly less likely than women to seek medical attention for their symptoms when feeling unwell. Research published by Harvard Medical School and Rutgers University suggests that men are twice as likely as women to wait more than two years between doctor visits.
The research also suggests a link between this reluctance to seek medical help and traditional views of masculinity. This is especially true of routine medical examinations that may require rectal or other invasive procedures. This is compounded by general fear of diagnoses which, sadly, leads many men to only receiving a diagnosis when their condition is more advanced.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
The prostate is a male reproductive gland located between the penis and the bladder. It secretes a fluid that mixes with sperm from the testes to produce semen. Prostate cancer is the cancer that affects this gland. Unfortunately, it is very common.
If you find that a frequent need to urinate is intruding on your daily activities – whether at meetings with work colleagues or at social gatherings with friends and family – don’t just dismiss it as an irritation. While it may be nothing, it may also be indicative of an underlying issue. A quick consultation with an expert can put your mind at ease or get the ball rolling for appropriate treatment.
Symptoms that might indicate prostate cancer are:
- Swelling in the area between your genitals and your anus
- Increased need to pee
- Straining while you pee
- A feeling that your bladder hasn’t fully emptied after you’ve peed
How at risk am I of prostate cancer?
You may be at greater risk of prostate cancer if:
- Someone in your has had family prostate cancer (particularly your father or your brother)
- You are aged 50 or older
- You are overweight
- You have African or Afro-Caribbean ancestry.
Clarity’s consultants take your risk factors and symptoms into account before making a diagnosis.