The prostate is a small gland found located between the penis and bladder. When abnormal cells develop this is when cancer occurs. It’s the prostate’s job to secrete the fluid that protects your sperm. When abnormal cells develop they can multiply uncontrolled and spread beyond the prostate. Generally, cancer of the prostate is slow-growing. The majority of patients with low-grade cancer of the prostate are symptom-free for many years. It’s high-grade cases of prostate cancer that can be lethal, spreading quickly.
There has been a dramatic drop in deaths from prostate cancer and this is down to the improvements in treatment and early detection. The key is early detection, which means you should have periodic checks of the prostate. The most common check involves a digital rectal exam. This is where the doctor will manually check the prostate gland to check the size, shape, and texture.
There are symptoms of prostate cancer to look out for. Difficulty urinating is one, as well as pain or burning while urinating. Pain in the pelvis or back. Trouble stopping or starting or urinating more frequently during the night. A lack of bladder control, a decrease in the urine stream’s velocity or flow, as well as blood in the urine or semen.
Risk & Diagnosis
You are at higher risk if there is a family history of prostate cancer, as well as ovarian or breast cancers (on the maternal side of the family). Your risk is even higher if that family link is father, brother or son. Additionally, once you are over 50 years of age you should get tested periodically. You can also have your blood tested to check prostate-specific antigen levels. However, the diagnosis of prostate cancer can only be given following biopsy confirmation. The blood test combined with the digital rectal exam offers us the best chance for early detection of prostate cancer.
The information on this site may be provided by outside organisations. We aim to provide an informed site for those who require support. However, this does not mean the information in our Learning Centre is our own opinion. We believe that every case of Prostate Cancer is unique and the treatment and maintenance is different for each patient. If you have any questions, be sure to contact your local GP, specialists and other medical professionals. We are not medical experts. This site is simply to inform people and to provide support for those living with Prostate Cancer; and their families and friends.