Be aware of prostate cancer

March is prostate cancer awareness month – a national campaign the urges men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

Across the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. 47,000 are diagnosed with the disease every year. 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.

What is prostate cancer

Prostate cancer develops when the cells in the prostate begin growing in an uncontrolled way. It often begins slowly and for many living with the disease it may never even cause any problems.

It’s most likely to develop in men over the age of 50 and in many cases where prostate cancer develops later in life men will outlive the cancer.

In other instances, prostate cancer is likely to spread and needs to be treated – if the cancer advances beyond the prostate it can become much more serious.

Recognising signs and symptoms

Prostate cancer can go untreated for a long time because there often aren’t any recognisable symptoms.

One of the most telling signs of changes to the prostate is urinary problems. They may be mild or develop over several years. If you are having urinary problems it isn’t necessarily a sign of prostate cancer, and may simply point to a benign prostate problem, but at this stage it’s important to raise your concerns with your GP. Changes include:

• Difficulty starting to urinate, difficulty emptying your bladder
• A weak flow
• Feeling your bladder hasn’t emptied
• A sudden urge to urinate, leaking before you get to the toilet

If prostate cancer spreads beyond the prostate, it can cause other symptoms including:

• Back, hip or pelvis pain
• Blood in urine or semen
• Difficulty getting or keeping an erection
• Unexplained weight loss

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms make an appointment to see your GP. The symptoms can also be caused by other things, so they may want to run tests to determine the cause of the problem.

Testing for prostate cancer

There are a number of tests and checks that can help identify or eliminate the possibility of prostate cancer.

The PSA test is among the most common – it’s a simple blood test that can be done at your GP’s office and measures the amount of PSA protein in your blood. A raised level suggests a problem with your prostate.

A digital rectal examination can also happen at your GP’s office, where they will feel the prostate to see if it’s enlarged, hard or lumpy. The DRE is not definitive; because the doctor or nurse won’t be able to feel the whole prostate, sometimes those with prostate cancer will have a prostate that feels normal.

You may then be recommended for further tests, usually at your local hospital. These can include a prostate biopsy, CT scan or MRI scan.

What can you do to reduce your risk of prostate cancer?

While there are lots of scare stories and misconceptions out there about cancer, there are most definitely things you can be doing to reduce your risk, highlights Professor Ahmed, many of which revolve around having a healthy lifestyle. Here are four key ways you can help reduce your risk of prostate cancer:

1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
This means plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre, starchy foods, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Some foods are especially prostate-healthy, such as brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli), cooked tomatoes, green tea, mixed nuts and pomegranate juice. These produce antioxidants that protect prostate tissue.

2. Exercise regularly
Aim to do 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise on five days of the week. Aerobic exercise is best, such as swimming, jogging, cycling and brisk walking.

3. Stop smoking
As with many cancers, smoking is a major risk factor. Try to steer clear of passive smoke too.

4. Stick to recommended alcohol limits
For men, this means not regularly drinking more than 14 units (which equates to six pints of lager or five pints of cider) per week – spread over the whole week (so no more than three to four units tops in a single day).

Are you prostate cancer aware? Share your experiences in the comments below 

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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25th May 2018
Thanks for voting!
Diagnosed with prostate cancer feb 2005 gleason score 7. had prostate gland removed in city hospital Belfast.I continue to keep well and required no further treatment. My message to all men is go get checked and don't die of Embarrassment .
13th Mar 2018
Thanks for voting!
Pleased to see something about Prostate Cancer on here, as it is not talked about enough. I cannot understand why there isn't regular screening for Prostate cancer in men as there is for breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women. The PSA test is a very quick and easy blood test which can identify early signs of Prostate cancer.
12th Mar 2018
Thanks for voting!
Very interesting article on prostate cancer, it was very helpful.
12th Mar 2018
Thanks for voting!
I had no signs or symptoms for prostate cancer, it was picked up by a dr asking if I had a test ( digital exam ) and as I hadn’t he felt my prostate. It was enlarged so he started more tests , my PSA levels started to rise so he ordered a MRI scan which picked up a growth in my bladder . I was referred to a urologist who performed a TURBT ( removal of tumour ) and a biopsy of my prostate. These both came back as cancerous. So in August 2017 I had both prostate and bladder removed .
So guys get checked even if you have no signs , the test isn’t too bad and if picked up soon enough could spare you going through major surgery like I have . GET TESTED !!
12th Mar 2018
Thanks for voting!
Very interesting article regarding Prostate cancer. Thanks.
7th Mar 2018
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My farther was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago he is now 84, he has stopped all the tablets that he was on and feels 99% his old self
7th Mar 2018
Thanks for voting!
Having had this and to a greater extent still have traces of it I feel that I am very lucky in that I live in an area where the staff at hospitals are really good at their jobs and you are seen with out any fuss or bother. I was not well early on so went and got tested pretty quick.
Soon after diagnosis I was being treated at the hospital. Mind you to get well the treatment takes over your live. It is like you have lost two months of living a normal life, however it is worth it and so far after 5 years I am still in control of the disease.

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