Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is found at the base of the bladder. It is about the size of a walnut and is part of the male reproductive system.

It is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with 40,000 new cases and 9,000 deaths recorded in England every year. Some trans women and non-binary people (who are born male) can also get prostate cancer.

Research shows that the sexual side effects from prostate cancer treatment are the most painful and most common; yet less than half of men experiencing issues are directed to clear, practical and helpful resources.

When it comes to prostate cancer, early detection is key. For men, even if it feels far from your radar, it’s important to know that factors such your age and family history of prostate cancer can put you at higher risk of developing the disease.

Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, but that doesn’t mean it’s a disease that only affects old men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Men who are Black or of Caribbean descent, and men who have a family history (a brother or father with prostate cancer), are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer.

A study by Public Health England published in 2015 showed that one in four Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and one in twelve Black men will die from the disease – figures double that of other men.

Hence Embarrassed, a highly impactful short film was created by Sir Steve McQueen and starring four prominent award-winning Black actors to raise awareness of prostate cancer in the Black community. Embarrassed aims to dispel the myths and stigma around prostate cancer, encouraging Black men to ask their doctors for a PSA blood test while also spreading the message between family and friends: prostate cancer is curable if caught and treated in the very early stages.

To watch this film please click on the link below:

Detecting prostate cancer

Prostate cancer does not usually cause symptoms in the early stages. Most prostate cancers start in the outer part of the prostate gland. This means that to cause symptoms, the cancer needs to be big enough to press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis.

If prostate cancer has already spread to other parts of the body (advanced or metastatic prostate cancer), it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Back or bone pain that doesn’t go away with rest.
  • Tiredness.
  • Weight loss for no reason.
  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Painful or burning urination.
  • Difficulty in having an erection.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Blood in urine or semen.
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer please check out the leaflet below generated by Cancer Research UK:

Not everyone with prostate cancer has symptoms, so regular screening should be a part of your annual health check from the age of 40.

If you have concerns, please book an appointment to visit your GP. They can do some tests to help them decide whether you need a referral to a specialist. The tests your GP might arrange include:

  • An examination of your prostate gland (digital rectal examination)
  • A prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test

The PSA test measures the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA it’s a protein made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells.

For a great leaflet from Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer UK that explains the PSA test, things that can raise it and when to speak to a GP please click on the link below.

Or you can read more about that and other tests on the Prostate Cancer UK website HERE.

It’s normal for all men to have some PSA in their blood. But a PSA level higher than what would be expected for someone of your age can be a sign of prostate cancer.

For most men, a normal PSA level is reassuring, however if you have symptoms of Prostate Cancer it is important to follow this up with your GP, even if your PSA is normal. This is because a normal PSA cannot fully rule out Prostate Cancer in a symptomatic man.

Please be aware that if you are over 40 and worried you don’t need to speak to your GP first to arrange a PSA blood test. All you need to do is request a PSA Blood test form from one of the reception staff.

If you’re 40 years old, or you know someone edging towards that age group, we highly recommend arranging a PSA test.

Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second risk checker will ask you a few questions, determine your risk, and, if it’s high, point you in the right direction. Click on the link below to check your prostate risk in 30 seconds.

Prostate cancer, one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, is very treatable if caught early, so it’s vitally important that it is found quickly before the cancer spreads. Research suggests treatment at stages 1 and 2 has a near 100% survival rate compared to around 50% at stage 4.

For more information and sites dedicated to help and support please visit the links below:

If you are interested in supporting the fight against prostate cancer, why not check out “March the Month” which is a virtual step challenge for anyone who wants to keep active and help beat prostate cancer. Join thousands of people, across the nation, committing themselves to walk or wheel 11,000 steps a day throughout the month. It’s free to sign up and take part and is a challenge everyone can get involved in.