The Facts About Prostate Cancer
The prostate gland is the male gland, which creates semen and a specific protein required for ejaculation. Prostate cancer is the most common type of male cancer and occurs in over 41,000 UK men per year. 1 in 8 men over the age of 50 develop prostate cancer and the chances of getting it are higher if you are black, have a family history of prostate cancer or are older. Prostate cancer detection can be hampered because prostate cancer symptoms don’t always occur during the early stages of prostate cancer. Prostate problems do not always indicate cancer but they are similar to those associated with an enlarged prostate, correctly called ‘benign prostatic hyperplasia’, and any possible signs of prostate cancer should always be taken seriously.
The stages of prostate cancer
Early or localised prostate cancer remains contained within the prostate itself and may not need treatment. Some early prostate cancer is treated with radiotherapy or surgery. Minor areas of prostate cancer can sometimes remain inactive for many years. Prostate cancer detection at the early stages can be difficult because signs of prostate cancer are not always present.
Locally advanced prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate itself but can be successfully treated with radiotherapy or surgery.
Advanced prostate cancer has spread further outside the prostate itself. Men whose prostate cancer is terminal usually have advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other body sites. Prostate cancer is particularly prone to spreading to the bones.
Prostate cancer symptoms
The signs of prostate cancer are very similar to the symptoms experienced with other prostate problems (i.e. an enlarged prostate). Prostate cancer is usually (but not always) slow to grow and prostate cancer symptoms may sometimes not be experienced until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra. Because of this possible delay in diagnosing prostate cancer, a speedy visit to the doctor is vital if any prostate problems occur. The most common prostate cancer symptoms include,
- Issues and difficulties surrounding the passing of urine
- Increased frequency (especially night time) of passing urine
- Increased urgency to urinate (and sometimes having to rush)
- The impression that the bladder has not completely emptied
- Pain when ejaculating or passing urine
- The presence of blood in the urine or semen
- Pain in the hips, legs or back. This type of pain is usually connected to a spread of prostate cancer to the bones.
- Red fruit and vegetables that contain lycopene (an antioxidant)
- Brazil nuts, fish, liver and kidney that contain selenium (a protective trace element)
- Pulses such as lentils, beans and peas
- Vegetable oils, nuts, seed and green leafed vegetables that contain Vitamin E.
Less common prostate cancer symptoms include,
It is highly recommended that all of the above potential prostate cancer symptoms are taken seriously and result in an early visit to the doctor. Because prostate cancer symptoms can be slow to appear, visiting the doctor as soon as you experience prostate problems can make a huge difference to the success of your treatment.
Preventative measures that can help you to avoid prostate cancer
There are, as yet, no definitive answers to the question of how to avoid prostate cancer but research strongly suggests that a generally healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet can reduce the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. One interesting point to note is that men who live in Asia, in countries such as China and Japan, are less likely to experience prostate cancer symptoms than men in western countries like the UK and America. This may be attributable to the differences in diet as an eastern diet contains less sugar, dairy products, fat and processed food. It is interesting to note that Asian men who move to western countries increase their risk of prostate cancer.
Reducing the risk of prostate cancer detection through diet
A balanced and healthy diet should include far more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain carbohydrates (such as brown rice and sweet potato) than proteins and dairy foods. It should also avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. As well as this, there are a few foods that some experts (but not all) consider to have a potentially lowering effect on prostate cancer:
Experts at the World Cancer Research Fund suggest that the evidence linking specific food types with prostate cancer prevention is limited. However they do say that staying within recommended BMI limits, getting regular exercise, eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, avoiding high fat or sugar foods, limiting alcohol intake and cigarettes and taking care in the sun can all contribute to the prevention of different types of cancer.
Prostate cancer can be survivable
The good news is that, with early prostate cancer detection, prostate cancer can be survivable. Patients diagnosed with prostate cancer at stage one have a good chance of survival for five years whereas the five-year survival rate for prostate cancers diagnosed at stage four is only 30%. This emphasises the need to understand prostate cancer symptoms and act quickly should any of the signs of prostate cancer be experienced.
Prostate cancer treatments
Finding the correct treatment for prostate cancer depends on a number of factors including the spread of the cancer and the speed of growth of the cancer. A combination of treatments, including radiotherapy may be recommended. Our cooling and soothing R1 and R2 gels can help patients currently undergoing radiotherapy treatment and ease any skin discomfort that may occur as treatment progresses.