Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. More than 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year. Although the condition usually develops slowly without causing any noticeable symptoms, prostate cancer can be serious if it starts to spread. It can also cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms for many men so it is important to see a doctor if you think you are affected.
Some men don’t experience any symptoms of prostate cancer but as the tumour grows it can place pressure on your urinary tract. The symptoms of prostate cancer are very similar to those caused by benign prostate enlargement. You might notice:
It is important to see a doctor if you experience these symptoms as there are treatments that can help. In many cases these symptoms will be caused by a urinary infection or benign prostate enlargement, but there is a chance that you could have prostate cancer.
Anyone who has a prostate gland can be affected by this type of cancer. However, the chances of developing prostate cancer do increase as you get older. Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer will be over 50. You are also more likely to be affected if you are black or if you have a family history of prostate cancer. Men who are overweight may also be at higher risk of prostate cancer.
Various tests can be performed to check for prostate cancer. The doctor will also ask about your symptoms and medical history in order to work out which tests are appropriate for you. You may also have a urine test to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as urinary infections.
The combined results of these tests will enable your doctor to make the diagnosis and recommend the best treatment approach if you do have prostate cancer. Additional tests might be needed to monitor your condition or to learn more about the cancer.
Treatment isn’t always required right away when you are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Many prostate cancers are very slow growing so they are unlikely to spread or cause other issues. In this case, it can be better to watch and wait. If the tumour starts causing symptoms or there is a risk it could spread then it can be removed at a later date.
If the tumour is causing symptoms such as urinary problems or it is more likely to spread then your doctor may recommend treatment to remove it. Treatments such as radiotherapy and hormone therapy can be used to shrink the tumour. Another option is surgical removal of the prostate gland.
You will need to discuss the risks and benefits of these treatment options in detail with your doctor so that you can make the right choices about your care. The best approach will depend on your symptoms, age, general health, and how fast the tumour is growing. If there is a very low risk that prostate cancer will cause problems it can be better to avoid treatments that could cause side effects such as urinary problems or erectile dysfunction. However, if the cancer is already causing these kinds of symptoms or it poses a serious risk to your health it can be important to remove it.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer then you can make an appointment with Mark Feneley to get the tests and treatments you need. As an experienced consultant urologist, he will enable you to make the best choices about your health.
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