Imagine having an organ inside your body, roughly the size of a walnut. That is the prostate gland. Every man has one.
Sitting below the bladder, it seems small; what could possibly happen to something so small, to have such a huge impact on a person’s health? The answer: prostate cancer.
March is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
Each year, it is estimated that 47k men in the UK are diagnosed with this disease and 11k lose their lives to it every year. Despite the growing understanding of it, it remains unclear what the triggers could be.
Writer and comedian Stephen Fry recently admitted to having treatment for prostate cancer in a touching video on his personal website last week.
His video highlights just how easy it is for the disease to go undetected without undergoing a thorough examination.
However, some can be less fortunate. As a result, prostate cancer is now the third-deadliest form of cancer in the UK, ahead of breast cancer.
Here is some basic information about things to watch out for and some further facts:
1.) Symptoms can include difficulty going to the bathroom, as a tumour is likely to put pressure on the bladder once it grows large enough.
2.) The prostate gland can grow larger or become inflamed for a number of reasons unrelated to cancer – sometimes it can be attributed to ageing or treatable infections.
3.) Prostate cancer moves slowly compared to some cancers – in many cases, patients die with it rather than because of it
4.) There are a number of ways to get a good diagnosis – urine samples can help detect signs of infection and blood can be tested to monitor levels of prostate-specific antigens. A digital rectal examination can also help determine whether there’s anything out of the ordinary.
5.) An ageing population has led to an overall increase in cases but survival prospects for prostate cancer have risen. Compared to 1990, men are now two and a half times more likely to live for another 10 years or more following diagnosis.