September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Australia annually. 3000 will pass away from this.
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and makes fluid that forms part of semen. The prostate is just below the bladder in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis and out of the body).
Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Prostate cancer may not have early detectable symptoms.
Prostate cancer growth tends to happen slowly. Although not always fatal, most men with prostate cancer tend to be over 65 years old.
What are the Common Symptoms?
Feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate
Finding it difficult to urinate (for example, trouble starting or not being able to urinate when the feeling is there or poor urine flow)
Discomfort when urinating
Finding blood in urine or semen
Pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips.
Testing for Prostate Cancer
Generally there are two ways to test for prostate cancer.
Blood test (Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test): The result shows whether there is an increase in this specific protein.The result determines if you need investigation by a specialist. A high PSA test result does not necessarily mean cancer. Prostate diseases other than cancer can also cause a higher than normal PSA level.
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): Because of where the prostate is located, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to check the size of the prostate and assess if there are any abnormalities. A normal DRE result does not rule out prostate cancer.
Speak to your GP about getting screened for prostate cancer especially if you have a family history.
Of if you seek a support network for prostate cancer or more information