Prostate Cancer Know The Signs

November, or now more commonly known as Movember is the month when Men’s Health is celebrated, awareness is created, and funds are raised in support of various men’s health Charites and initiatives. It is also Prostate Cancer awareness month, which is a key focus of the Movember movement.

Why? Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Men in Ireland, next to Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer. Ireland has the highest incident rate of prostate cancer in the EU With around 3,890 men diagnosed each year.

1 in 7 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer during their lifetime. It is important to know the signs to allow for early detection and treatment.

Who’s at Risk?

While Prostate Cancer is thought to be an older man’s disease, according to The Men’s Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) Trends Report, the average age at diagnosis has dropped from 74 years in 1994-1996 to 67 years in 2012-2014. The number of men aged under 55 years at time of diagnosis has quadrupled.

Risk Factors and When to get Checked

Age

Your risk increases the older you get. Men aged 50+ are urged to arranged a Prostate Check or PSA check with their GP.

Ethnicity

Men of African and Caribbean descent have a higher incident rate, its is recommend to get check at 45.

Find out Why Here.

Family History

If you had a Father or Brother who has had Prostate Cancer you are 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed. It is recommended to get check at 45.

What is Prostate Cancer?

The Prostate gland is found only in men, just beneath the bladder, surrounding the urethra, which carries urine. It is about the size if a walnut, however as men age the prostate begins to enlarge which can result in the development of cancerous cells.

There are three types of Prostate Cancer:

Early Localised Prostate Cancer

Found only in the prostate gland, has not spread, can show little to no symptoms.

Locally Spread Prostate Cancer

Cancer that has spread to nearby tissue outside of the prostate gland, such as the seminal vesicles or lymph nodes.

Metastatic Prostate Cancer

An advanced staged cancer, where it has spread to other parts of the body, most commonly the bone.

The prostate also makes a protein called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA); this turns semen into liquid form.

A PSA blood test is the normally the first investigative measure a GP will take to check if there is an issue with the prostate. While a high PSA count does not always indicate the presence of Prostate Cancer, it can flag signs of inflammation which could require further investigation, such as a biopsy.

Signs and symptoms

  • Frequent need to urinate, especially at night
  • Weak or interrupted flow or urine
  • Difficulty starting/holding urination
  • Painful/Burning urination
  • Blood in Urine or Semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Pain/Stiffness inn lower back, hips, upper thighs

It is important to note that these symptoms may not always be an indicator of Prostate Cancer they could be a result of Prostate Enlargement or Inflammation (Prostatitis). Always consult you GP if you have any concerns or symptoms.  

Prostate cancer has one of the highest survival rates with over 90% of men newly diagnosed surviving.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy, The Irish Cancer Society said:

“We saw that over a 20 year period, prostate cancer survival rates have drastically increased. Over 9 in 10 men are now likely to be alive five years after being diagnosed with this cancer, up from just 6 in 10 men in the 1990s.”

“However, in order to keep incidence numbers on a downward trend, and those survival rates on the up, every man over 50 in Ireland should be having a conversation with their GP about prostate cancer.”

Prostate Cancer can be treated with active surveillance, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery to remove the prostate gland, chemotherapy, and watchful waiting.

Should you be concerned about your prostate or you are over 50 and would like to arrange your Prostate check, it is important to contact you GP to discuss your options.

Early detection can and does save lives.


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