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Prostate Cancer Awareness

Prostate cancer generally affects men over 50 and is rare in younger men. It’s the most common type of cancer in men. Around 37,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.  It differs from most other cancers in the body, in that small areas of cancer within the prostate are very common and may stay dormant (inactive) for many years.


Only men have a prostate gland. It is the size of a walnut and its main function is to help make semen.  The prostate is underneath the bladder and surrounds the tube that men pass urine through (the urethra). Normally the growth of all cells is carefully controlled in the body. As cells die, they are replaced in an orderly fashion. Cancer can develop when cells start to grow in an uncontrolled way. If this happens in the prostate gland, prostate cancer can develop.


Prostate cancer can grow slowly or very quickly. Most prostate cancer is slow-growing to start with and may never cause any symptoms or problems in a man's lifetime. However, some men will have cancer that is more aggressive or 'high risk.' This needs treatment to help prevent or delay it spreading outside the prostate gland.


Signs and symptoms

Prostate cancer that’s contained inside the prostate (calledlocalised prostate cancer or early prostate cancer) doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. But some men might have some urinary problems. These can be mild and happen over many years and may be a sign of a benign prostate problem, rather than prostate cancer.


Changes to look out for include
  • needing to urinate more often than usual, including at night – for example if you often need to go again after two hours

  • difficulty starting to urinate

  • straining or taking a long time to finish urinating

  • a weak flow when you urinate

  • a feeling that you’re not emptying your bladder fully

  • needing to rush to the toilet – sometimes leaking before you get there

  • dribbling urine after you finish.

Less common symptoms include
  • pain when urinating

  • pain when ejaculating

  • blood in your urine or semen*

  • problems getting or keeping an erection – this isn’t a common symptom of a prostate problem and is more often linked to other health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems.


*Blood in your urine or semen can be caused by other health problems. Talk to your doctor if you see any blood in your urine or semen.


For some men the first symptoms of prostate cancer might be new pain in the back, hips or pelvis. This can be caused by cancer that’s spread to the bones (advanced prostate cancer). These symptoms are often caused by other problems such as general aches or arthritis. But it’s still a good idea to get them checked out by your GP.


Most men with early prostate cancer don't have any symptoms. If you're worried about your risk or are experiencing any symptoms, visit your GP.


Am I at increased risk?


In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and Black men are more at risk. If you are worried about your risk, or are experiencing any symptoms, go and see your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer.


Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men. We don’t know why, but it might be linked to genes. In the UK, about 1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.  


If you're a Black man and you're over 45, you might want to visit your GP. They can talk to you about your own risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer.


Having a father or brother with prostate cancer means you are two and half times more likely to get prostate cancer. What does this mean for a Black man – who is already at higher risk?

The 1 in 4 lifetime risk is an average risk and applies to all Black men regardless of whether they have a relative with prostate cancer or not. This is because the data used to calculate this risk included Black men who have close relatives with prostate cancer, and those who don’t. So the average lifetime risk remains 1 in 4, but each man’s individual risk might be slightly higher or lower than this average, depending on his age and family history.


References - Prostate Cancer UK, MacMillan Cancer Support and Movember UK


Further information can be found on the following links:



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