What is prostate

Prostate cancer occurs when cells in this gland begin to divide and multiply uncontrollably to form tumours.

If left untreated, cancerous tumours can spread to nearby tissues, and cancer cells can metastasise, spreading to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic system and form new tumours, and becoming life threatening.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

It is important to know that many men with prostate cancer don’t experience any symptoms whatsoever until the cancer is at an advanced stage. However, symptoms could include the following:

  • Blood in your urine

  • Trouble urinating

  • A sudden or urgent need to urinate

  • Waking frequently at night to urinate

  • Difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow

  • Pain during urination

  • Difficulty achieving an erection and/or painful ejaculations

  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back

  • Unexplained weight loss

What you can do to help detect prostate cancer early:

  • Because you may not experience any symptoms, you should visit your doctor for PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening - a simple blood test - every year after the age of 45. The text will determine the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate. The higher the PSA level, the greater the chance that you may have prostate cancer. Your doctor may also recommend a digital rectal exam (DRE) to feel for any hard, lumpy areas on the prostate which may indicate cancer. If you are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, your doctor will advise how often you should have screenings.

  • If the cancer is diagnosed early while it is localised, ie confined to the prostate gland itself, the five year survival rate is almost 100%.

  • Men over 40 who have been identified with BRCA2 gene mutation should receive full screening for prostate cancer annually.