Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Globally more than 1.3 million men are diagnosed every year, including around 3,400 in New Zealand.
Many men start to have problems with their prostate as they get older, and bladder problems are common. This is mostly due to factors other than cancer, but it is important to get checked just in case.
If you have any of the following symptoms you should see your GP. Early detection saves lives. If the cancer is found early while it is still contained within the prostate gland, and has not yet spread, you have the greatest chance of cure.
Signs and symptoms include:
👉Dribbling or leaking urine
👉Blood in your urine
👉Difficulty starting urination
👉Urgency to get to the toilet
👉Feeling the need to go to pee more often, especially at night
👉Flow of urine stops or starts, or is interrupted
👉Weak urine stream
👉Trouble stopping the flow once you have started
One man in six will develop prostate cancer. There is no way to accurately predict who will and who won’t get it, however the chances of getting it are increased in some situations.
Risk factors include:
👉men over 65 years of age
👉family history of prostate cancer (father, brother or son)
👉diet high in fat
👉unhealthy lifestyle – high stress and lack of regular exercise
Having these risk factors doesn’t mean you will get prostate cancer, but your chances are greater.
If you are diagnosed with cancer then keeping your weight under control, exercising regularly and eating well, will all help with recovery, and prevention of recurrence.
It is important to be checked. It is recommended that men over 50 years of age (or over 40 if there is a family history of prostate cancer) be checked regularly. You doctor can arrange a PSA check, via a blood test. They can also do a prostate examination – this involves inserting a finger into the anus to check the size and shape of the prostate gland. If there are any issues you will be referred to a urologist who may arrange an MRI and / or do a biopsy.
Options can be discussed with your urologist if you do end up with a diagnosis of prostate cancer. There are a number of recent developments meaning treatment is more targetted and more effective. The important thing is that early detection saves lives as treatment is more successful if the cancer has not spread. So see you GP and get tested regularly!