September is the month for prostate cancer awareness so I hope that Billy Connolly's announcement will help to achieve exactly that and raise awareness of this cancer and the opportunities that there are for curing the condition. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men affecting about 1 in 8 men in the UK at some point that you may have.
The prostate is about the size of a walnut and part of the male reproductive system located in front of the rectum and below the bladder.
A large part of being aware is knowing the symptoms. People may experience different symptoms or in some cases none at all. However the most common symptoms are:
- difficulty urinating or weak flow of urine
- frequent urination
- pain or burning during urination
- blood in the urine or semen
- painful ejaculation
- consistent pain in the back or pelvis
If you find that you have one or more of these symptoms it is important that you seek professional healthcare advice, it may not be prostate cancer but finding it in the early stages could save your life. Across the UK over 40,000 men are diagnosed every year and it is estimated that by 2030 prostate cancer will be the most common form of cancer. As so many men are at risk prostate cancer ‘screening’ is of the utmost importance. In recent research it was found that screening too early or too late can result in detecting too few deadly cancers. The age where screening is most effective is between 45 and 49. It was found that most deadly cancers were detected at this age.
We shouldn’t though assume that all men would benefit from screening and even the use of the term screening for Prostate cancer could be misleading as there is no single test that will confirm yes or no to prostate cancer or indeed whether the cancer is benign or active. Further tests would be required and all of the results need to be considered within the context of the patient, their symptoms, clinical and family history to minimise the risks of over-diagnosis and the conducting unnecessary tests. There is a healthy debate within the clinical and patient communities about early and preventative testing for Prostate Cancer and this informs our practise at Southdowns.