As the day’s finally start to get a little bit longer, we quickly move in to March which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate Cancer UK will be holding various awareness talks across the country and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling will be walking 10 marathon’s in 10 days for Men United March. With this great work in mind, Healthy Performance asks what is prostate cancer, how many people does it affect and would you know the symptoms?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with around 40,000 men in the UK diagnosed every year. Around 1 in 8 men will prostate cancer at some stage in their lives. Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer in the UK.
It mostly affects men over the age of 50 and is rare in younger men. It is also more prevalent in males of African-Caribbean and African descent and it is diagnosed more frequently in those who have a close male relative, such as a brother, father or uncle who has had the condition.
It is only prevalent in males, because only males have a prostate gland, which is a small organ that lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra that urine and semen is passed through (2 out of 3 adults don’t know the purpose of the prostate gland!).
Prostate cancer differs from most other cancers because many males may have some cancer in their prostate (50% of males over the age of 50), which may stay dormant for many years and are unlikely to cause any problems.
Symptoms generally relate to problems or changes in urination and include:
- needing to urinate more frequently than normal, especially at night
- difficulty starting to urinate and a weak flow when you urinate
- having to strain or taking a long time to finish urinating, then feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly
- Not being able to control your urination.
There is currently no single definitive test for prostate cancer and if you have any of the symptoms above, you should see your GP who may do one of the following tests:
- A urine sample to detect any infections
- Measure your level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
- Examine your prostate
There is evidence to suggest that certain lifestyle behaviours can reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. These include:
- stop smoking
- exercise habitually
- Regularly include foods such as tomatoes, which contain a protective component lycopene, and brazil nuts, which contain selenium in your diet
- Don’t consume significantly high levels of calcium, which has been shown to increase your risk of developing prostate cancer
- Maintain a healthy weight
Click here to read how a Healthy Performance PSA employee screening programme helped to save one man’s life and help prostate cancer awareness within his organisation.