Prostate cancer set to become the most common
A report by the male cancer charity Orchid launched to mark the 10th Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Week (April 9 - 15, 2018) predicts prostate cancer will become the most common cancer in the UK by 2030. According to Cancer Research UK, currently the most common cancer in the UK is breast cancer.
Already the most common cancer in men in the UK, prostate cancer, says Orchid, is diagnosed in more than 47,000 men each year in this country, making it far more common than other male cancers (testicular cancer is diagnosed in 2,400 men each year while penile cancer is relatively rare, affecting 600 men a year).
What is the prostate? The prostate is a gland found only in men. It’s located just below the bladder and helps produce seminal fluid. It’s very small in children, but grows bigger after puberty when the body’s levels of the hormone testosterone start to rise.
What are the risk factors? Age is the most common risk factor for developing prostate cancer, and according to Orchid it’s rare in men under the age of 50. The mid-60s is the most common age for a man to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in this country. However, age isn’t the only risk factor – others include:
- Family history of prostate cancer (having a brother of father who developed prostate cancer before their 60th birthday may increase your risk)
- Ethnic background (prostate cancer is more common among African and African-Caribbean men than those of Asian descent)
- Obesity (according to the NHS there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer)
- Exercise (men who are physically active on a regular basis may have a lower risk)
What are the symptoms? There are several symptoms that may suggest the presence of prostate cancer, but these are common among men as they get older, and can often be caused by other problems. These include:
- Needing to urinate more often, especially during the night
- Needing to rush to the toilet
- Having difficulties urinating (especially starting to urinate)
- Weak or slow urine flow
- Straining while urinating
- Pain or a burning sensation during urination
- Having an unexplained urinary infection
According to Orchid, many men with early prostate cancer also have no symptoms at all. However if you do experience any of the above symptoms, see your GP to find out if they could be related to prostate cancer.
How is it treated? Prostate cancer treatment varies from one man to the other, according to their individual circumstances. According to the NHS many men don’t need any treatment at all, other than being monitored for signs that the cancer is getting worse. If you do need treatment, it can range from surgery or hormone therapy to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
What can you do? While there’s nothing you can do about some of the risk factors for prostate cancer – such as your age, family history or ethnic background – changing your lifestyle could help make a difference to your prostate health:
Maintain a healthy weight Lose weight if you need to – ask your local Careway pharmacist for tips on getting your weight back into a healthy range.
Eat healthily Eating a healthy diet may help you to shift excess pounds – eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables ever y day, and choose low-fat and low-sugar foods whenever you can.
Stay active Men who exercise regularly are thought to have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical every week.