Prostate cancer 101: What you need to know

Gracewell  |  February 22, 2017
According to Bupa, prostate cancer is a very common form of the disease, typically impacting older men in their mid-60s onwards.

According to Bupa, prostate cancer is a very common form of the disease, typically impacting older men in their mid-60s onwards.

The NHS explained that tens of thousands of new cases of prostate cancer emerge each year nationwide. In terms of demographics, Bupa also noted that black men tend to be at a slightly higher risk than white and Asian men.

It is important for all men to understand what prostate cancer is and some of the tell-tale symptoms, no matter their age. Prostate cancer awareness is especially crucial though in middle-aged men over the age of 50, due to their increased risk. To learn more about this illness, read on. 

What is the prostate?
Before an examination of what prostate cancer is, it is helpful to take a closer look at the gland itself. As explained by the NHS, the primary function of the prostate is a reproductive one - it produces the fluid component of semen. The sperm, however, are produced by the testicles. The prostate is situated next to the bladder, behind the penis. The source noted that prostates are fairly small.

What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is any malignancy that forms in the prostate. According to Cancer Research UK, researchers have yet to uncover a definitive cause of prostate cancer, although there a number of factors that can increase one's risk. They include:

  • Being older than 50. 
  • A family history of the disease.
  • Being of black-African descent.

Cancer Research UK also noted that other factors such as being physically inactive, obese and having had another form of cancer can increase risk. 

There are a range of treatment options for prostate cancer.There are a range of treatment options for prostate cancer.

Signs and symptoms
According to the charity Prostate Cancer UK, early stages of prostate cancer are usually asymptomatic. Indeed, as noted by the NHS, it is possible for an individual to live with prostate cancer for many years before he observes any symptoms. Consequently, when symptoms are noticed it usually means that the cancer has grown to the point where it begins to have an impact on the urethra. Prostate Cancer UK explained that some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Flows of urine that are weaker than usual.
  • Feeling as though you still need to urinate, even if there is nothing left.
  • More frequent urination, particularly at nighttime.
  • Bladder leaks.
  • Pain while urinating.
  • Pain during ejaculation.

The source noted that with more advanced cases of the disease, where the cancer has spread, other symptoms such as back pain may be observed. It is important to keep in mind, however, that all of the aforementioned symptoms can be caused by any number of health problems, so don't assume that you definitely have prostate cancer. Make an appointment with your GP to receive an accurate diagnosis. 

How is prostate cancer treated?
If you receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, there will be a range of treatment options available, with the best course of action contingent on the stage and progress of your disease. Bupa explained that in many cases your team of physicians may opt for active surveillance or watchful waiting policies. This entails monitoring the cancer on a regular basis to ensure that it remains contained. With this tactic there is no actual treatment. This approach will likely be used if your cancer is slow growing and contained within the prostate. 

Other conventional treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapies. In aggressive cases your doctor may recommend experimental treatments.

At Gracewell Healthcare we are dedicated to ensuring that our residents lead happy and comfortable lives. For more information about our facilities, contact us today.