What is prostate cancer and who is at risk?

When we decided to partner with Prostate Cancer UK, part of our mission was to raise awareness of the disease. Despite being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, many people are still not aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer, what to do if they’re concerned and who may be particularly at risk.

We’re working with clubs across the country to educate and inform their members and guests about prostate cancer. The cancer is notoriously hard to diagnose and Prostate Cancer UK fund vital research to help improve this process and discover new treatments. After all, the more we know about prostate cancer, the more we’re able to learn and work towards beating it.

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a small gland located between a man’s bladder and penis. It’s normally the size of a walnut but, as men age, the prostate can become enlarged. This can lead to problems when urinating, as the gland surrounds part of a man’s urethra. Many of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate are also symptoms of prostate cancer. This means that it’s hard to seek an easy diagnosis, and many men choose to put off seeing a doctor as they believe their symptoms are simply the result of an enlarged prostate.

Prostate cancer can grow slowly, with many instances of prostate cancer not even requiring treatment. However, other types are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body. If detected early, prostate cancer can be successfully treated if it is confined to the prostate gland.

What causes prostate cancer?

It’s not yet clear what causes prostate cancer, or why certain groups are most at risk. We know cancer is caused by cells growing in an uncontrolled way, but we’re not sure what initially causes these cell mutations.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • A weak flow when urinating
  • A feeling your bladder hasn’t emptied fully after urinating
  • Needing to urinate more often than usual, particularly at night
  • A sudden urge to urinate

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer can also cause other symptoms, such as back or hip pain, issues with erections or blood in the urine/semen.

Remember, some men with prostate cancer won’t have any signs or symptoms. If men are at risk of prostate cancer, however, they should still speak to their GP on a regular basis.

Who is most at risk?

There are some key prostate cancer risk factors you should be aware of:

  • Over 50s
  • Family history (a brother or father who has had prostate cancer)
  • Being black
  • Being overweight

If you’re at a higher risk of getting prostate cancer, or have symptoms, make an appointment with your GP. They will be able to advise on the tests you need.

You can also speak to Prostate Cancer UK’s specialise nurses, who will answer any questions you might have about prostate cancer.