Prostate Cancer - What you need to know
Prostate Cancer – What You Need to Know
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Ireland. More than 3,300 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, meaning that one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Prostate cancer often grows slowly and doesn’t cause any symptoms for a long time, if at all.
It is crucial to undergo prostate screening tests if you notice the symptoms to dissolve any doubts you might have, or start a journey to a healthier you.
What Does the Prostate Do?
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system.
It is about the size of a walnut, located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
The function of the prostate is to help in the production of semen.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is when the cells of a prostate gland grow in an abnormal way to form a lump.
The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as men get older. It usually progresses slowly; however, if the prostate gets bigger, it can press on the urethra and cause urinary symptoms.
What Risk Factors Increase Your Chance of Developing Prostate Cancer
The risk increases with age. It usually affects men over 50.
- Family history
The risk is higher if you have a family member with the same disease. It is also higher if your relative developed prostate cancer at a younger age, or if you have more than one relative with the disease
Afro-Caribbean men are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Keep in mind that having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will get cancer!
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Prostate cancer symptoms can include:
- Needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
- Needing to rush to the toilet
- Difficulty in starting to urinate
- Straining or taking a long time while urinating
- Weak flow
- Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
If you have symptoms that indicate prostate cancer, consult your GP. Tell him or her if you have close family members with prostate cancer. Your GP will explain to you the risks and what the tests involve.
Your doctor is likely to:
- Ask for a urine sample to check for infection
- Take a blood sample to test your level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
- Examine your prostate (digital rectal examination)
Treating Prostate Cancer
Doctors will use the results of your prostate examination, biopsy and scans to identify the “stage” of your prostate cancer. The stage of cancer will determine which types of treatments will be necessary. When discovered early, prostate cancer can usually be treated successfully.
Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of many types of cancers, including prostate cancer.
Ireland’s Cancer Society recommend these six steps to cut your cancer risk in half:
- Stop Smoking
If you smoke, plan to quit.
We can help. Call in and talk to one of our pharmacists about Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
- Keep a healthy weight
Eat at least five servings a day of a variety of fruit and vegetables.
- Eat smarter
Limit your intake of unhelathy foods
- Be active
Do brisk physical activity every day.
- Limit alcohol
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks per day for men and one standard drink per day for women.
- Be safe in the sun.
Protect yourself in the sun and avoid sunburn, especially in children.