Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Prostate Problems - The Bottom Line

Prostate Problems – The Bottom Line

·      In 2009, 40,841 men in the UK were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
·      In 2010 there were 10,721 deaths from prostate cancer in the UK.
·      In 2005-2009, 81% of men in England survived their prostate cancer for five years or more.
Interesting facts.  So why is it that many men still bury their heads in the sand when it comes to thinking about this killer cancer?  Maybe it is the fact that with early prostate cancer men are unlikely to have any significant symptoms.  This is due to the fact that with this particular cancer and with the position of the prostate gland,  it is not until the cancer is large enough to put pressure on the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder) that any changes are noticed.  In men over the age of 50, there is also the fact that the prostate gland often gets larger due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or hypertrophy (BPH).
The symptoms of both that benign enlargement of the prostate gland and when a malignant tumour (cancer) is present, are similar and can include any of the following:
·       Difficulty passing urine
·       Having to pass urine more often than usual, especially during the night
·       There can be some pain when passing urine
·       Blood might be seen in the urine although this is one of the less common symptoms.
If you notice any of these things, it’s important to go and get checked over by your doctor.  But it is also important to remember not to panic, because most enlargements of the prostate will not turn out to be cancer.
Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer can include all the symptoms that I have already mentioned but it the cancer is advanced it may have spread.   In that case some symptoms that are due to the spread of the disease and the formation of secondary cancers might be noticed.  The symptoms that appear due to secondary cancers will depend on where in the body the secondary cancers have developed. However, there will be a few more general symptoms that some men will have, and those might be things like feeling more tired than usual, feeling generally unwell and experiencing a loss of appetite.
It is obviously a great idea to have any cancer detected early and with prostate cancer early intervention will make a dramatic impact on survival rates for men with the disease. 
This is something that can be nipped in the bud and just because you cannot see your prostate gland does not mean that it will not give you trouble.   You need to be aware of just how common prostate problems are in men, as they get older, and make sure that you take up any offers for regular testing that come your way.  Know your body and its functions and be ready to react quickly if you suspect anything is wrong.   Survival rates for men with prostate cancer are improving all the time so don’t be shy or afraid, go and get advice and help if you need it!
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Amanda Thomas
UK Health Radio