Symptoms of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer of UK men.
The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It’s about the size of a walnut, producing the liquid that nourishes, protects and carries sperm on ejaculation. It tends to increase in size with age, called benign prostatic hypertrophy, causing symptoms in some men like urinary frequency
If prostate cancer is found early, while still confined to the gland itself, chances of survival are excellent.
Often prostate cancer doesn’t have any symptoms, but when they do occur they may include:
• Urinating frequently
• Difficult or painful urination or ejaculation
• Delay or hesitancy before urinating
• A feeling that the bladder has not completely emptied
• Blood in urine or semen
• Disturbed sleep because of the need to urinate
In advanced prostate cancer, the following symptoms may occur:
• Weight loss
• Bone pain
• Pain in the loins, pelvis or lower back
It’s important to be aware that there are a number of other, non-cancerous medical conditions that may also cause these symptoms, for example infection or benign prostate enlargement, but should always be investigated.
There are several methods to check for the presence of prostate cancer. The simplest is the digital rectal examination, in which a gloved finger is inserted into the rectum, through which an enlarged prostate can be felt. Blood tests are the next step – prostate cancers cause the levels of certain chemicals in the blood to rise. More sophisticated tests include the use of ultrasound scans, and x-rays.
• Being overweight or obese.
• Having a father or brother with prostate cancer.
• Being of African-Caribbean or African-American descent and in western countries.
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