Learning about prostate cancer symptoms can help you safeguard your health and the health of the men you care about!
The discussion of men’s health gets a welcome boost at this time of year thanks to the Movember movement. Moustaches – real and well groomed, as well as fake and funny – are everywhere right now, reminding us to speak up more about men’s health including prostate cancer.
For us here at Manly, talking about and supporting men’s health is a full-time mission, but Movember is the perfect reminder for every man to learn more about prostate care and help get the message out about prostate health and what to watch out for!
What’s my risk of getting prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is no laughing matter – a staggering 1 in 7 men in Ireland will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Approximately 3,600 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Ireland every year.
Treatment options may include active surveillance, prostatectomy (prostate removal), radiotherapy, hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
But, the earlier the disease is caught, the better it can be treated, and today nine out of ten men diagnosed will survive.
The 5 year survival rate for people with prostate cancer is 98%, and up to 89% of prostate cancers are found in the early stages.
So what can you do to help you and your brother, father, uncle, partner, and friends understand prostate health and stay healthy or recover quickly?
Knowing the symptoms of prostate cancer is key to great outcomes.
What are the early signs of prostate cancer?
Prostate problems become more common as you get older. The risk of having an enlarged prostate increases every year after the age of 40, so it make sense to stay alert for signs of prostate issues as you get older.
Prostate cancer symptoms can include:
- Frequent urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- The need to strain to empty your bladder.
- Frequent urges to urinate at night.
- Blood in your urine.
- Problems getting or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain or burning during urination (this is one of the less common symptoms)
These symptoms may have other causes, and some men won’t have any obvious symptoms at all. Often, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.
How is a prostate check carried out?
The prostate itself is a gland, usually the size and shape of a walnut, which naturally grows bigger as you get older. It is found underneath the bladder, around the urethra, which is the tube through which urine and semen pass. The prostate gland produces a whitish fluid called seminal fluid, which mixes with sperm to form semen.
If your doctor suspects prostate cancer, they may order a test which checks your levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). This is a routine blood test. If it indicates that you have elevated levels of PSA. your doctor may then carry out a physical examination.
The physical prostate examination involves your doctor manually checking the size of your prostate via a rectal examination. The examination isn’t painful, though it may cause momentary discomfort. It is the primary method of diagnosing prostate cancer, and the exam is far less gruelling than treatment, so don’t let it put you off getting your prostate health properly checked.
Can I carry out a prostate test without visiting a doctor?
You can now check your PSA levels using a simple self-check test you carry out at home. The test will then be examined in a lab with the results returned to you discreetly via your phone.
Check your PSA
With a self-check prostate test kit you can carry out a prostate test – known as a PSA test – at home to measure your body’s levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). This may be elevated if you have prostate cancer or one of a number of benign conditions.
A self-check PSA test is a good way to monitor your prostate health. You can also talk to a pharmacist or arrange a consultation with your GP or an online doctor if you would like to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing. They can help you assess whether you need to have an in-person consultation or take more steps to address your prostate health.
Why not share the post to help raise prostate cancer awareness in Ireland this Movember?