What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
The prostate gland is the size and shape of a walnut and is only found in men. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra – the tube men urinate through.
Prostate cancer develops when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. This needs treatment to stop it spreading outside the prostate.
Symptoms to look out for
Prostate cancer does not normally cause symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra – the tube men urinate through. This means that the symptoms are usually associated with urination and can include:
- needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
- needing to rush to the toilet
- difficulty in starting to urinate (hesitancy)
- straining or taking a long time while urinating
- weak flow
- feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
Even if you have these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you have cancer. But it’s important that you go and see your GP if you have any concerns because if you do have cancer, the sooner you are treated, the more likely you are to be cured and usually will need less treatment.
Why it’s important to detect prostate cancer early
If it’s caught early prostate cancer is very treatable. Almost everyone whose prostate cancer is detected early will survive at least five years or more after diagnosis.
However, around 11,000 men die of prostate cancer each year and this is often because it is detected at a late stage when it has spread outside of the prostate.
If detected early, treatment can begin quickly and the cancer is less likely to spread.
Prostate Cancer UK