Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer and affects one in 13 men. It mainly occurs in older men. The prostate is a chestnut sized gland situated at the bottom of the bladder. It makes fluid to carry the sperm.
What are the warning signs?
See your doctor if you develop any of these:
- Difficulty starting the flow of urine.
- A slow, interrupted flow with dribbling.
- Frequent urination, especially at night.
- Blood in the urine.
- Pain or burning during urination.
- Having to rush urgently to the toilet.
- Not emptying the bladder fully.
These symptoms are most commonly due to simple prostate enlargement (BPH), but are sometimes caused by cancer.
What does your doctor do?
Your doctor can feel your prostate with a gloved finger inserted into your anus (backside). A blood test (called PSA) can also help detect prostate cancer.
Is screening worthwhile?
Checking for prostate cancer in healthy men without symptoms (screening) is controversial. Screening can detect early cancers when they may be curable. However, the tests are not always accurate. Screening may be more useful for high risk men with a close relative with the disease.
Can it be prevented?
Not yet, although there is some evidence that a diet low in animal fat and high in fruit and vegetables may reduce risk. Vitamins C, E and selenium may be helpful.
How is prostate cancer treated?
In early cases, surgery is often used to remove the prostate, or radiotherapy (x-ray therapy) is given to kill the cancer cells. Both treatments can lead to impotence or incontinence (urine leakage). Once the cancer has spread, hormone treatments or chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs) are used.
For more information, speak to your doctor or visit http://www.prostate.com.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.