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Health Wise: Prostate cancer awareness

Statistics show that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with around 48,500 new prostate cancer cases every year.

Here’s everything you need to know about the prostate gland, including facts and advice about prostate cancer.

What is the prostate gland and what does it do?

The prostate gland is only found in men. It’s usually the size and shape of a walnut and is located below the bladder.

The prostate gland produces some of the fluid in semen and is crucial to a man’s sex life. The fluid produced by the prostate feeds and protects sperm during intercourse.

The gland often enlarges as men get older and in one third of men aged 50 or over it causes problems.

What can go wrong with your prostate gland?

The most common prostate problems are an enlarged prostate, prostatitis and prostate cancer.

What causes an enlarged prostate?

The medical term for an enlarged prostate is benign prostatic enlargement (BPE).

We don’t really know what causes the prostate to grow. The two main risk factors are age and the balance of hormones in the body.

Some studies have shown that obese men and those with diabetes may be more likely to develop an enlarged prostate.

If the prostate is enlarged, it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. This swelling can make it hard to pass urine and may be a sign of prostate disease.

It’s important to remember that having an enlarged prostate doesn’t increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. The two problems usually begin in different parts of the prostate.

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland. This is a non-cancerous condition.

There are four main types of prostatitis:

  • chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)
  • acute bacterial prostatitis
  • chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

CPPS is the most common type of prostatitis. Unlike other types of prostatitis, it’s not caused by a bacterial infection, but nobody really knows what actually causes it.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way.

Sometimes, prostate cancer can grow so slowly that you may never need treatment. However, some prostate cancer grows quickly and will need treatment to stop it from spreading.

Now we’ll take a closer look at the symptoms of, the risks involved with and the treatments for prostate cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer can be difficult to spot because most men won’t have any signs or symptoms in the early stages.

You’ll usually only get early symptoms if the cancer grows near the tube you urinate through (the urethra). If it presses against it, this could change the way you urinate.

Possible changes include:

  • a need to urinate often, especially at night
  • difficulty starting to urinate
  • straining to urinate or taking a long time to finish
  • pain when urinating or during sex

Other less common symptoms include:

  • pain in the lower back
  • blood in the urine

These symptoms can all be caused by other health problems. However, if you have any of them, it’s best to see your GP.

Am I at risk of prostate cancer?

While prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, we don’t know exactly what causes it. But there are some things that may mean you’re more likely to get it.

The three main risk factors for getting prostate cancer are:

  • getting older
  • having a family history of prostate cancer
  • being black (we don’t know why, but it might be linked to genes)

Unfortunately, these aren’t things that anyone can change. No one knows how to prevent prostate cancer, but a healthy lifestyle may be important.

Being overweight may increase your risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer that’s more likely to spread or spread outside the prostate.

What are the treatments for prostate cancer?

As we mentioned above, some men with prostate cancer won’t need any treatment.

If treatment is needed, it will depend on your individual circumstances.

When deciding what treatment is best, doctors will consider:

  • the type and size of the cancer
  • what grade it is
  • your general health
  • whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body

The NHS website has a detailed list of possible prostate cancer treatments.

Help and support about prostate cancer

You can find further advice about prostate cancer from:

If you’d like to find out how our occupational health services help businesses support employees who are affected by cancer, contact the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: Health & WellbeingHealth WiseOccupational Health

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