Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer to affect males in the UK with around 47,700 men being diagnosed each year according to Cancer Research UK.
Prostate cancer typically develops slowly which means there may be no signs for many years. A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer depends on many factors such as age, genetics, family history, lifestyle, and other medical conditions.
In this article, we’ll provide you with valuable information to pass on to your employees and tips on how to promote awareness in the workplace.
Possible Signs of Prostate Cancer
It’s important that men are aware of the possible warning signs of prostate cancer as symptoms do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).
Warning signs can include:
- Frequent urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder
- The urge to urinate frequently at night
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the seminal fluid
- New onset of erectile dysfunction
- Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common
- Discomfort or pain when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate
How To Get Tested for Prostate Cancer
Early diagnosis is key to successful prostate cancer treatment. Here are three tests that your employees could take if they are concerned about their prostate.
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
A DRE exam is an examination that enables health practitioners to determine whether someone has a prostate problem or prostate cancer. This test involved a doctor or nurse feeling the patient’s prostate through the wall of their back passage.
Although over quickly some discomfort may be felt, unfortunately, this test can’t be viewed as 100% accurate as the doctor or nurse cannot feel the whole prostate.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
A PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in the blood and may help detect early prostate cancer.
PSA is a protein produced by normal cells in the prostate and also by prostate cancer cells. It is normal for males to have a small amount of PSA in the blood, and the amount can rise slightly as males age. A raised PSA level may suggest a prostate problem, but not necessarily cancer.
PSA tests alone cannot tell a doctor whether a man has life-threatening prostate cancer or not. However, if the individual does have a raised PSA level, they may be offered an MRI scan of the prostate to help doctors to decide if they require further tests/ treatment.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan
An MRI scan uses magnets to create a detailed picture of the prostate and surrounding tissues allowing doctors to easily assess the prostate for cancerous cells and if positive, how quickly any cancer is likely to grow.
An MRI scan can take between 30-40 minutes and involves the patient lying still on a table which will move slowly into the scanner. The radiographer may give the patient an injection of dye during the scan, this helps the doctors to see the prostate and other organs more clearly on the scan.
As MRI scans uses magnets this type of assessment isn’t suitable for those who have any implants that could be attracted to the magnets such as a pacemaker.
How to Promote Prostate Cancer Awareness in The Workplace
- There is a national prostate cancer awareness campaign that runs alongside Men’s health month, in November every year. Branded as Movember due to its emphasis on growing a moustache, this campaign is easy to use as an ice breaker to get the subject talked about at work. Using the national campaign helps employees to feel they are part of a bigger movement and therefore engagement is usually higher.
- To raise awareness all year round you can use free resources from the charity Prostate Cancer UK. Request leaflets on diet and lifestyle, or guides to common prostate problems and put these in staff rooms, canteens or on notice boards around the workplace. To go one step further you can organise through them, an awareness talk where a trained volunteer will come along and give a talk directly to staff.
- Make sure you fully utilise your internal communication channels. each month in an email or newsletter why not rotate the free posters from Prostate Cancer UK to remind people of the symptoms and the importance of getting themselves checked.
Is employee health and wellbeing high on your agenda?
At Healthy Performance we support hundreds of businesses with their wellbeing strategy through our range of health and wellbeing services including PSA testing.
Our PSA tests are quick, easy and painless for the participant. One of our trained professionals will simply take a blood sample from the fingertip of an employee and send the blood sample to our laboratory, results are then provided within two weeks and often much quicker.