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Spotting cancer early saves lives

Your questions answered

Who is most at risk of getting prostate cancer?

Around one in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Older men are more at risk of prostate cancer and the risk rises as you get older. Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50 and the average age for being diagnosed is between 65 and 69.

Prostate cancer is more common amongst men of African-Caribbean and African descent.

Men with a family history of prostate cancer, particularly a father or brother who developed prostate cancer under the age of 60 seem to be more at risk also.

If you are worried about your risk, or are experiencing any symptoms, go and see your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer.

How can I help to prevent prostate cancer?

There is some research that suggests a link between diet and exercise and prostate cancer. In addition, there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer. You may therefore be able to reduce your risk by eating healthily and exercising regularly.

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

There is no single, definitive test for prostate cancer, so your GP will discuss the pros and cons of the various tests with you to try to avoid unnecessary anxiety.

Your doctor is likely to:

  • ask for a urine sample to check for infection
  • take a blood sample to test your level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
  • examine your prostate (rectal examination)

You may be referred to a hospital for a biopsy, where a small sample of tissue from the prostate is removed to be looked at further. You might have an MRI before a biopsy. This helps doctors see which areas of the prostate to sample.

If there is a significant chance the cancer has spread from your prostate to other parts of the body, further tests may be recommended.

What are the treatment options for prostate cancer?

Your treatment for prostate cancer will depend on your individual circumstances, including:

  • Type and size of the cancer
  • Your general health
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other areas.

Many men with prostate cancer will not need treatment and will be kept under active surveillance by doctors. Treatment will only begin if the cancer gets worse or causes symptoms.

When treatment is advised, it may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone treatment. The aim of treatment is to cure or control the cancer so it doesn’t spread and minimises the impact on your everyday life.