Prostate Cancer

By: Joe Swails

What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer usually develops in older men.

The prostate gland (which only men have) lies just beneath the bladder. It is approximately the size of a chestnut and its primary function is to produce fluid which enriches and protects sperm, and also helps with the carriage of sperm out of the penis during ejaculation.

Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells in the body begin to grow, divide and reproduce in an uncontrollable way. These abnormal cells then invade and destroy healthy tissue, including organs and glands. Prostate cancer develops when some of the cells in your prostate gland start to grow out of control in this way, invading and destroying healthy cells.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

Occasionally passing of blood when urinating

Painful and problematic urinating

Pain and stiffness in your lower back, thigh bones and hips

Pain at the base of the penis

Painful orgasms

Tiredness and loss of appetite

Most, if not all, of these symptoms are common among older men. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, please arrange an appointment with your GP.

As with other cancers, the exact reason as to why prostate cancer develops is unknown. However, risk factors may include things like: a poor diet (that is high in fat and low in fruit and vegetables), ageing, genetics, and also your ethnic group (prostate cancer is most common in African-Caribbean men).

If you are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms, then it is important to arrange an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. He or she will carry out two simple tests that can help diagnose prostate cancer:

A PSA test – a blood test to measure levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood

A Digital Rectal Examination to check your prostate’s size and shape and whether any lumps can be detected

Note: PSA is a protein produced exclusively by your prostate gland. If your PSA level rises, this may be an indication of prostate cancer, and your GP may wish to refer you to an urologist for further tests.

Treatment options for prostate cancer include:

Hormone therapy – where the prostate is ‘starved’ of testosterone in order to try to slow down the spread of cancerous cells from your prostate

Surgery – where the prostate is removed

Brachytherapy – where radioactive seeds are implanted in the prostate

Advice & Support
The Prostate Cancer Charity
Confidential Helpline: 0800 074 8383
Website: , e-mail here
Provides support and information for patients and their families

Prostate UK
Tel. 020 8788 7720
Website: , e-mail here
A national charity dealing with all prostate diseases, including prostate cancer

This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.

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