The prostate gland 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. Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than normal, resulting in a tumour. Not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up. If left untreated, cancer cells may spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, producing secondary tumours in a process known as metastasis. Early detection is key.
Who’s at risk?
Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, but that doesn’t mean it’s a disease that only affects old men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Men who are of African or Caribbean descent, and men who have a family history (a brother or father with prostate cancer), are 2.5x more likely to get prostate cancer. If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about PSA testing. If you’re of African or Caribbean descent, you need to start that conversation at 45. And if you have a brother or father with prostate cancer in their history, do it at 45.
What’s a PSA test?
It’s a simple routine blood test. It’s used to determine the measurement of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) concentration in the blood, it is the primary method of testing for prostate cancer.
Signs and symptoms
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thigh
*Note: not everyone will experience these.