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Prostate cancer – Be vigilant and catch it early

Are you male, 50 plus, with a weak flow of urine, pain or difficulty when urinating? Do you see blood in your urine or semen? These and other indicators may suggest prostate cancer.

If detected early, your chances of surviving prostate cancer are better than 98%. If it’s detected late, this survival rate drops to below 26%.

I don’t mean to worry you, but did you know that around 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK? 1 in 4 of those men will die as a result. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 1 in 8 men diagnosed with it in their lifetime.

If detected early, your chances of surviving prostate cancer are better than 98%. If it’s caught late, this survival rate drops to below 26%. So it’s crucial to see a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms.

Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, but you are over 50, you should be having your prostate checked regularly because this cancer is a sneaky bugger and can go undetected for many years without showing symptoms.

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate gland is located just below your bladder and is responsible for helping to produce the fluid found in semen. Prostate cancer is where normal, healthy cells begin to reproduce uncontrollably in the prostate gland.

Problems with the prostate are common, particularly in older men, and may not necessarily be caused by the disease. But, as there is no single symptom to indicate prostate cancer, it can easily go unnoticed, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, go to the doctor:

  • Slow or weak flow of urine

  • Urinating more frequently or urgently than usual

  • Difficulty starting to urinate

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating

  • Unexplained urinary infection

  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or pain during ejaculation

  • Impotence.

  • Blood in the urine or semen

  • Pain in the back with no obvious cause or improvement with pain killers

What are the risk factors?

The most common age for a man diagnosed in the UK is currently in his mid-60s. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, your risk is doubled, compared to those with no family history of the disease. You are also more likely to develop and die of prostate cancer if you are of African-Caribbean descent, although it has not yet been ascertained as to the reason why this is.

Lifestyle and diet can influence your chances of prostate cancer, so by living a healthy lifestyle, with plenty of exercise and a good diet, you are reducing your chances of getting this disease.

Eat a healthy low-fat balanced diet to lower your risk of prostate cancer, especially one with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and olive oil. Limit the dairy, saturated fats and red meat, which is thought to lead to an increased risk of developing several cancers and may contribute to the development of prostate cancer. Obesity increases your risk of prostate cancer, so work on reducing the number of calories you eat each day.

Studies have shown that men who exercise may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer so getting out for a run, walk, visit to the gym or anything else that raises your heartbeat is important.

Prostate cancer is a killer, and it can creep up on you without showing symptoms. Stay healthy and be aware of changes in your body, especially if you’re over 50 and have a family history of cancer, and you could be one of the lucky ones who catch this disease early.

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