Each day during Men’s Health Week, we’re posting articles to raise awareness of commons health issues for men. Today: Prostate Cancer.
Even though a man dies in the UK on average once every 45 seconds from prostrate cancer, most men are oblivious to what the prostate actually us. The prostate is a gland. It is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine (wee) out of the body. The prostate’s main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm. Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way. Some prostate cancer grows too slowly to cause any problems or affect how long you live. Because of this, many men with prostate cancer will never need any treatment. But some prostate cancer grows quickly and is more likely to spread. This is more likely to cause problems and needs treatment to stop it spreading.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
- More than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day.
- Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 11,500 men every year.
- 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Around 400,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer often do not show up during early stages but men who have higher risk are encouraged to come forward for checks. More than half a million people (550,000) checked their risk of developing the disease online during a recent campaign with men deemed high risk encouraged to visit their GP to get checked out.
Research has shown that 56% of people say a cancer diagnosis is their biggest health fear with 42% of those surveyed saying they would ignore symptoms, look for answers online or wait until anything has changed before seeing a GP.
Prostate cancer, one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, is very treatable if caught early, so it’s vitally important that these men are found quickly before their cancer spreads. Research suggests treatment at stages 1 and 2 has a near 100% survival rate compared to around 50% at stage 4.
While most men with early prostate cancer won’t have any signs or symptoms of the disease, symptoms to be aware of include needing to pee more frequently, weak flow, and blood in your urine. For a full list, see the NHS website.
Men are encouraged to learn more about their risk via the Prostate Cancer UK online risk checker, which is higher in men over 50, black men and men whose father or brother had the disease.
The Men’s Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently the Men’s Health Forum is the only UK charity doing this and they need your support, click here for their fund-raising page.