Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. Learn more about the condition, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.
In prostate cancer, abnormal cells proliferate in the prostate, a gland found in the pelvis of men. The main function of the prostate is to help with production of seminal fluid which combines with sperm to form semen. Male hormones, particularly testosterone, stimulate the development of this cancer by helping the cancer cells to grow and multiply .
Symptoms and impact on health 1,2
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly. The disease can go undetected for years, because the early stages are generally asymptomatic. Once the tumour has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra, problems with urination may result. Many men’s prostates get larger as they get older due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). So symptoms may not necessarily be due to prostate cancer.
Symptoms may include:
- frequent need to urinate, including at night
- urinary urgency,
- weak flow
- feeling of incomplete bladder emptying,
- hesitancy and straining.
Other symptoms, such as bone and back pain, loss of apetite, weight loss and testicular pain may also appear at more advanced stages.
What causes prostate cancer ?1
Although the causes of prostate cancer remain largely unknown, several risk factors can increase the risk of developing the condition:
- Age: the chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age. Most cases are diagnosed in men aged 50 and over.
- Family history: men who have first degree male relatives affected by prostate cancer are also at increased risk. Research suggests that having a close female relative with breast cancer may also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Ethnicity: prostate cancer is more common in men of Afro-Caribbean descent, and less common in men of Asian descent.
- Diet: there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk, as is being obese. However there is also evidence of lower risk in men who eat foods rich in lycopenes (cooked tomotoes) and selenium (brazil nuts).
Facts and figures3
In the UK there are over 47,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. More than 11,000 men die from prostate cancer per year.
common cancer in men
1 NHS Choices website – Prostate cancer ; symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate/Pages/Introduction.aspx Last accessed 18/07/2017
2 https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-symptoms Last accessed 28/12/2017
3 Prostate Cancer UK website – About prostate cancer
http://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer Last accessed 18/07/2017