Prostate cancer: Doctor outlines symptoms you might experience
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The prognosis of prostate cancer – like all cancers – is determined by the stage at which the cancer is detected. The message is clear: the earlier it’s picked up, the better. Indeed, as Navin Khosla, Superintendent Pharmacist at FROM MARS, pointed out, detection at stage 4 sees a decrease of around 40 percent compared to that at stage 3.
As the pharmacist explained, prostate cancer is caused by cancerous cells spreading through your prostate.
“These cells can pass to other areas of your body, forming secondary tumours – prostate cancer can be fatal.”
Knowing how to spot the signs is therefore “crucial”, he said.
According to Mr Khosla, the five main warning signs are:
- Urinating more often than usual, especially at night
- Having little control over urinating – finding it difficult to start or stop or experiencing a weak flow of urine
- Experiencing pain or a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating
- Blood in your urine or semen
- Sudden erectile dysfunction.
Getting checked for prostate cancer – everything you need to know
Prostate cancer isn’t as common in men under the age of 30.
“However, after 30 it’s a good idea to have annual check-ups with your GP for a prostate examination,” advised Mr Khosla.
The pharmacist continued: “Your GP will perform a painless rectal examination on you where they will insert a finger into your bum to check for any irregularities of your prostate.
“Your GP may opt to perform a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test; this is a blood test which can detect any antigens in your blood which arise if you have prostate cancer.”
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Mr Khosla added: “However, prostate cancer isn’t the only cause of a high PSA, so if this is detected you will also need to have other checks such as an MRI scan.”
Hammering home the message
As prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer amongst men, it’s important to know the warning signs of the illness in order to detect the cancer early on.
“Urination is one of the key tells of prostate cancer, if urinating feels abnormal or painful then I would advise contacting your GP so they can perform a full check of your prostate,” advised Mr Khosla.
He continued: “The risk of prostate cancer increases with age – after the age of 50, so I would advise visiting your doctor for regular prostate examinations.
“This risk is increased further if there is a history of prostate cancer in your ancestry and also if you are of African-Caribbean or African ancestry – if this is the case I would advise the regular checks to start from the age of 45.”
How to reduce your risk
Unfortunately, there’s no way of completely eradicating the risk of developing prostate cancer.
However, as the pharmacist pointed out, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the chances – maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are important changes you can make to improve your health.
Also, “reducing animal-fat intake and consumption of processed meats can help reduce these risks”.
Treating prostate cancer
If you do have prostate cancer, you may not need treatment.
If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, your doctor may suggest either “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance”, explains the NHS.
According to the health body, the best option depends on your age and overall health. Both options involve carefully monitoring your condition.
- Surgically removing the prostate
- Radiotherapy – either on its own or alongside hormone therapy.
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