Prostate Cancer – Knowing the signs can save your life


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men – Almost 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in England. Many men’s prostates get larger as they get older due to a non-cancerous condition known as prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Symptoms that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.

Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. This needs treatment to stop it spreading outside the prostate.

Inherited mutations in this gene might let abnormal cells live longer than they should, which can lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2: These tumor suppressor genes normally help repair mistakes in a cell’s DNA (or cause the cell to die if the mistake can’t be fixed).

Signs and symptoms

Prostate cancer that’s contained inside the prostate (called localised prostate cancer or early prostate cancer) doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. But some men might have some urinary problems. These can be mild and happen over many years and may be a sign of a benign prostate problem, rather than prostate cancer.

Changes to look out for include

  • needing to urinate more often than usual, including at night – for example if you often need to go again after two hours
  • difficulty starting to urinate
  • straining or taking a long time to finish urinating
  • a weak flow when you urinate
  • a feeling that you’re not emptying your bladder fully
  • needing to rush to the toilet – sometimes leaking before you get there
  • dribbling urine after you finish.

Less common symptoms include

  • pain when urinating
  • pain when ejaculating
  • blood in your urine or semen*
  • problems getting or keeping an erection – this isn’t a common symptom of a prostate problem and is more often linked to other health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems.

*Blood in your urine or semen can be caused by other health problems. Talk to your doctor if you see any blood in your urine or semen.

For some men the first symptoms of prostate cancer might be new pain in the back, hips or pelvis. This can be caused by cancer that’s spread to the bones (advanced prostate cancer). These symptoms are often caused by other problems such as general aches or arthritis. But it’s still a good idea to get them checked out by your GP.

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms. If you’re worried about your risk or are experiencing any symptoms, visit your GP or speak to our Specialist Nurses.

Are you at risk?

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Men aged 50 or over, men with a family history of prostate cancer and black men are more at risk of getting prostate cancer.

Find out more about your risk.

 

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