Each year, more than 37,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is estimated that 1 in 14 men will develop the condition, especially as it is the most common cancer in men aged 55 years or over. Many men with early prostate cancer have no symptoms at all. However, there are a number of risk related factors:
Although prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 65 and it is uncommon in men under the age of 40, in the UK over 1,000 men under the age of 55 are diagnosed with it each year. 4 in 10 of these “early” cases are believed to be caused as a result of inherited forms of the condition. Nearly 8 in 10 men over the age of 80 are thought to carry evidence of the disease.
Afro-Caribbean men have relatively high rates of prostate cancer. Compared to Caucasian men, not only are they 3 times more likely to develop prostate cancer, they often suffer from a more aggressive form of the disease. Asian men have the lowest rates, though those Asians living in the western world who have adopted a western lifestyle appear to stand the same chance of developing prostate cancer as Caucasians.
The western diet, being high in saturated fats and red meat, has long been suspected as leading to an increased risk of developing cancer including prostate cancer. However, research has shown that there are several foodstuffs and dietary changes that appear to reduce prostate activity.
If your father or brother has suffered from prostate cancer your risk is doubled when compared to men with no family history of the disease. You are at a higher risk of developing this condition and your risk will increase, when a close member of your family under the age of 60 has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The National Cancer Institute believes that where there is a strong family history of female breast cancer and vice versa your risk of prostate cancer increases slightly. According to Cancer Research UK, two genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 carried by both men and women are thought to increase the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
There is no single symptom to indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Problems with the prostate are common and they may not be caused by cancer. They can easily be confused with “getting older”. Because the prostate gland surrounds the tube known as the urethra, which passes urine from the bladder to the outside of the body, any benign or malignant prostate disease or growth is likely to cause problems with urination.
These include symptoms such as:
- Slow or weak flow when urinating
- Urinating more frequently or urgently than previously
- Experiencing difficulty in starting to urinate
- Experiencing a burning sensation or pain when urinating
- Difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection
- Having pain during ejaculation
- Suffering from constipation or altered bowel habits
- Feeling that the bladder is not completely empty
- Unexplained urinary infection
- Unexplained pain in the groin, the back or the hips
- Seeing blood in the urine or semen
Although these symptoms do not necessarily mean that prostate cancer may be present, any man who experiences symptoms such as those described above is advised to visit his GP or healthcare professional without delay. Deferring such a visit is not a sensible option.
The primary source for some of the content of this article, which was written some years ago, was Cancer Research UK. To read their latest detailed research findings, we strongly recommend that you access their web site page, just click on the link below:
then click on Prostate Cancer.