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Are you aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer?

View profile for Sarah Masters
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What you need to know about prostate cancer

Across the UK, around 153 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day and it is the most common cancer in men. One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Most men with early prostate cancer do not show any symptoms so that is why it is important to know about the risks.

What are the risk factors?

It is unknown what causes prostate cancer but there are some factors which make it more likely that you may get it. These are:

  1. Getting older – it mainly affects men aged 50 or over and your risk increases as you get older.
  2. Family history and genetics – if members of your family have prostate cancer, breast cancer or ovarian cancer then this could increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can be hereditary and around 1 in 300 to 1 in 400 have a BRCA gene mutation which increases the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.
  3. Being black – for an unknown reason, black men are more likely to get prostate cancer. One in four black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, prostate cancer cannot be prevented but maintaining a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle is important as obesity also increases the risk of prostate cancer. 

What are the symptoms?

Many men do not present with symptoms of prostate cancer until the prostate is large enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis). This can result in an increased need to urinate, straining whilst urinating or a feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied. Any of these symptoms should not be ignored and you should seek medical advice. If you have these symptoms, then it could be that they are being caused by something else and you may not have prostate cancer.

What are the tests for prostate cancer?

There are several tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. These are:

  1. Blood tests – the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA and can help detect early prostate cancer. A raised PSA might suggest you have a problem with your prostate, but not necessarily cancer. 
  2. Physical examination of your prostate
  3. An MRI scan
  4. A biopsy

What are the treatment options?

There are many different types of prostate cancer depending on what stage the cancer is at.

Some men can be diagnosed with prostate cancer but do not need treatment if it is in the early stages and not causing any symptoms. Instead, they may be put on “active surveillance” to avoid or delay unnecessary treatment and its side effects. Side effects to treatment can include erectile dysfunction and urinary symptoms.

Other men may be offered surgery to remove the prostate, radiotherapy, or hormone therapy. Newer treatments are being developed to try to reduce the side effects of treatment such as high-intensity focused ultrasound and cryotherapy.

As with all cancers, early detection is key. It is crucial that men seek advice from a medical professional if they have any concerns.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical or health professional, including the delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis of prostate cancer, then we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. Our leading team of experts are on hand to offer advice, so please get in touch with us on 0161 696 6165 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.