Prostate cancer, as the name suggests, begins in the prostate, which is a gland located at the base of a man's bladder. It is also a very common form of cancer, with Cancer Council Australia explaining that it is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and that one in six men will be diagnosed with it by the age of 85. As with many other forms of cancer, an early diagnosis is incredibly important, as the chances of survival are much higher if treatment begins early. This short guide aims to explain the symptoms of prostate cancer, the diagnostic process, and how the condition is treated.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer, despite being dangerous, does present a range of symptoms that often lead to an early diagnosis. Cancer Research explains the symptoms in detail, the most common of which is the need to empty your bladder more frequently than normal. You may also need to get up in the night to do so, and might find it hard to completely empty your bladder. Some men also report leaking urine after they use the toilet and a minority may find blood in their urine or semen. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a GP as soon as possible.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
There are many diagnostic tests for prostate cancer, but the first is likely to be a simple exam where a doctor will insert a finger into the rectum to see if the prostate is enlarged. If the doctor is concerned about the results of this examination, they will recommend a blood test to measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. There may then be a biopsy, which is a procedure where a sample of cells is taken from the prostate to be examined more closely, as well as an ultrasound scan.
Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. Early-stage prostate cancer may only require monitoring rather than active treatment. If it is decided that treatment is the best decision, then there are a range of options. Radiotherapy and hormone therapy are some of the least invasive, although some men choose to get prostate cancer surgery, typically to remove the prostate altogether. If cancer has spread to the surrounding organs, there will be further treatment options available to you.
While being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be a scary and overwhelming experience, there is a lot that doctors can do to help. Being diagnosed at an early stage is vital, so you should ensure that you see your GP as soon as you notice any worrying symptoms.