It is important that men have regular checks especially when it comes to prostate cancer. According to Innocent Muza, a health specialist with Luton Primary Care Trust, there are about 40,000 men in the UK diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and a total of 10,000 die from it.
Prostate cancer only occurs in men. The prostate gland is about the size and shape of a walnut lying below the bladder and surrounding the upper part of the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the penis.)
Prostate cancer develops when a single cell in the prostate begins to multiply and forms a tumour. In many men the cancer grows very slowly and may not cause problems, but in some men it grows very quickly.
All men are at risk of getting prostate cancer, but some groups may be at a higher risk, for example those who are:
- Older men (the older you are, the greater the risk)
- Men of African ancestry - prostate cancer is more common in black men than in Asian or white men.
- Men with a family history of prostate cancer or breast cancer
- Men who eat a diet high in animal fat and low in fruit, vegetables, and fish.
Prostate cancer is very difficult (sometimes impossible) to cure when it has spread, so it is crucial to be aware of any symptoms and go to the doctor if they appear. Symptoms can include:
- A need to urinate a lot, especially at night
- Difficulty starting to urinate, or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
It is important for men to be aware of these symptoms when they occur and more importantly, visit the doctor for check-ups if they are concerned.
Dads, it is important to ask the right questions when you vist your doctor so that you have a full understanding of what the doctor says. Men are well known for ‘self-diagnosis’, but it is important to let the doctor provide a full medical check-up to provide a medical diagnosis.
According to Men’s Health Journal 2001 (Vol1. No.1), men die five years younger on average than women do. It is one of the starkest health inequalities we face. Heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, suicide and accidents are all generally more prevalent among men and men on average visit GP’s less than women.
Dads, you’ve been told! It’s a wake-up call to do something and get checked. If you’re already doing something, well done. If not, what are you waiting for?