This Morning: Dr Philippa Kaye discusses prostate cancer symptoms
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Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men – one in six in the UK will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Like all cancers, early detection is key to strengthening survival outcomes. However, this effort is hindered by the fact that “symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra)”, explains the NHS.
When this happens, you may notice:
- A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
- Frequent urination, particularly at night
- Difficulty stopping or starting urination
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
- Blood in urine or semen.
According to US-based Moffitt Cancer Center, “unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting” can also be an “early” warning sign.
Another possible early sign of prostate cancer is unusually weak urine flow, adds the health body.
“If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, men may experience swelling in the lower body, back, hip or bone pain, abnormal bowel or urinary habits or unexplained weight loss.”
How to respond
The NHS says: “If you have symptoms that could be caused by prostate cancer, you should visit a GP.”
According to the health body, there’s no single, definitive test for prostate cancer.
“The GP will discuss the pros and cons of the various tests with you to try to avoid unnecessary anxiety.”
The GP is likely to:
- Ask for a urine sample to check for infection
- Take a blood sample to test your level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) – called PSA testing
- Examine your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into your bottom – called digital rectal examination.
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The NHS continues: “The GP will assess your risk of having prostate cancer based on a number of factors, including your PSA levels and the results of your prostate examination, as well as your age, family history and ethnic group.”
If you’re at risk, you should be referred to a hospital to discuss the options of further tests, it adds.
Are you at risk?
Prostate cancer is not clearly linked to any preventable causes. Your risk of developing it depends on many things.
It’s worth noting that having a risk factor doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop prostate cancer.
Some risk factors you cannot change: age being one of them.
“Prostate cancer is more common in older men. Prostate cancer is most common in men aged 75 to 79 years,” explains Cancer Research UK.
Prostate cancer is more common in black-African men than white men, explains the charity.
“It is least common in Asian men.”
Being overweight or obese is contributing risk factor you can modify, it notes.
Obese means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. And being overweight means having a BMI of between 25 and 30.
BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.
“A better measure of excess fat is waist size, which can be used as an additional measure in people who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or moderately obese (with a BMI of 30 to 34.9),” notes the NHS.
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