How do I know if I am at risk of getting prostate cancer?
Certain factors could make you more likely to develop prostate cancer:
Prostate cancer is unusual under the age of 40. Between the ages of 40-60 your risk is about 1 in 100. Between 60-80 years of age, 1 in 8 men may present with prostate cancer. Your lifetime risk is 1 in 6.
- A family history of prostate cancer:
If a close relative (brother, father, grandfather or uncle) has had prostate cancer, especially at a young age, your risk is increased compared to the general population.
Afro-Caribbean men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Japanese men have the lowest risk of developing this type of cancer.
If all other risk factors are equal, a high intake of animal and dairy fat can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. This is based on population studies and is therefore difficult to apply at individual level.
If you think you may be at risk due to the factors above, visit your GP. Prostate cancer does not normally cause symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra.
This normally results in problems associated with urination. Symptoms can include:
- Needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
- Needing to rush to the toilet
- Difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
- Straining or taking a long time to urinate
- Weak flow
- Feeling your bladder has not emptied fully
- Less common symptoms:
- Blood in Urine or Semen
- Pain when passing Urine.
However, many men’s prostates get larger as they grow older and it is usually due to a non-cancerous condition known as prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia. If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should never ignore them. It is always worth a visit to your GP to put your mind at rest.
If you begin to experience bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles or unexplained weight loss, go to see your GP immediately.
Your GP will know what to look out for and when or if they should send you to a specialist for tests.
One of the tests your GP may prescribe is a PSA test
Why is it important to have a PSA test?
The PSA, Prostate Specific Antigen, is a protein substance produced by the prostate under normal circumstances.
If your PSA is showing as being raised on your blood test, it may indicate there is a cancer within your prostate. It is important to note an elevated PSA does not necessarily mean you have cancer of the prostate.
It merely enables your specialist to decide whether further investigation of the prostate is necessary to look for cancer. Your consultant may suggest other tests such as TRUS biopsy. (Trans Rectal Ultrasound of the prostate is used to guide your specialist to obtain very small samples of prostate tissue so they can be looked at under the microscope to see if cancer cells are present.)
The normal range for PSA is 0-4.0ng/ml, but this varies according to your age and the reference range used by the pathology laboratory.
What other tests might I need?
If prostate cancer is found, you will probably be asked to have the following further tests:
- An MRI scan of the pelvis: This is a special scan using very strong electromagnets to image the organs within the pelvis including the prostate. This will enable your urologist to see how quickly the cancer is growing or if it has spread outside the prostate.
- A bone scan: This test is to see if the prostate cancer has spread to the bones (metastases). A very small amount of radioactive liquid is injected into your arm and some hours later a picture is taken which can detect radioactive “hotspots” in bones which may be affected by prostate cancer.
If you feel a PSA test would be beneficial to you contact our team on 01245 474070 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is some detailed information about our Consultant Urologists who are here when you are seeking specialist help.