Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men and causes 10 000 deaths in the UK every year. 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and one in eight men in the UK will develop prostate cancer. Although the exact causes are unknown, a man with a first degree relative with prostate cancer e.g. brother or father is likely to be at a slightly higher risk of contracting this disease themselves. However, if caught early and treated appropriately, the recovery rates are extremely good. There is currently no screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK.
Where is your prostate?
Only men have a prostate gland. It sits under the bladder, surrounding the urethra and is the size of a walnut although it does get bigger with age.
Who is at risk
Men over 50 are more at risk than young men and men with a first-degree relative who has had prostate cancer are slightly more at risk of developing it.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
There are generally no symptoms of prostate cancer in it’s earliest stages as it surrounds your urethra, however, once it grows it can affect the way you urinate, so men that experience changes in urination should seek medical advice from their doctor. Possible symptoms include:
- needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
- needing to rush to the toilet
- difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
- straining or taking a long time while urinating
- weak flow
- feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
How is it diagnosed?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are particularly effective in identifying soft-tissue cancers, such as prostate, as the magnetic resonance uses the properties of the soft tissue itself to create the detail in the image. Because the MRI uses strong magnets you will be asked if you have any implants in your body which could be attracted to the magnets.
By combining an MRI scan with a blood test to check Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels, we can offer a highly effective screen for this disease. Please note that the blood test on its own is not effective as false positives can be caused by other issues such as a urinary tract infection or inflammation of the prostate.
At Southdowns Private Healthcare our doctors can help to screen for early signs of prostate cancer or to assess you for any concerns you may have about cancer and your health. To learn more about our cancer screening services, or to book an appointment, call us on 01243 766 447.