Prostate cancer symptoms – main warning signs to watch out for

Around 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK, while one person dies from the devastating disease every 45 minutes.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, meaning awareness of the illness and knowing how to spot the signs are essential.

Speaking on BBC’s Morning Live, doctor Ranj Singh explained that “the prostate is a small, walnut-sized shaped gland that sits at the base of the bladder.”

He added: “The tube, the urethra, comes out of the bladder and carries urine out of the body.”

The prostate gland produces a thick, white fluid that gets mixed with sperm to create semen, but if the glad enlarges due to cancer, it can block the urethra.

Dr Ranj warns about the early symptoms of prostate cancer, he said: "Difficulty passing urine… difficulty emptying the bladder… may need to go [to the toilet] a lot, particularly at nighttime."

He added: "Some people have accidents with dribbling; some people have blood in their urine as well.

"As prostate cancer advances… then you start to get symptoms of potential spread. You might get back pain. You might get weight loss, weakness and lethargy."

5 main warning signs of prostate cancer

1 – Urinating more often than usual, especially at night

2 – Having little control over urinating – finding it difficult to start or stop or experiencing a weak flow of urine

3 – Experiencing pain or a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating

4 – Blood in your urine or semen

5 – Sudden erectile dysfunction

Where to locate the prostate

According to Medical News Today, the prostate is located between the base of the penis and the rectum, which is the passage that leads to the anus.

The prostate sits around two inches inside the rectum.

A person can insert a clean, lubricated finger into the anus, with the finger pointing toward the navel, writes the medical site.

The prostate is sensitive to pressure which, if correctly performed, can generate sexual pleasure.

Getting checked for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer isn’t as common in men under the age of 30, however, after 30 it’s a good idea to have annual check-ups with your GP for a prostate examination.

Your GP will perform a painless rectal examination on you where they will insert a finger into your bum to check for any irregularities of your prostate, explains Men’s health experts atFROM MARS .

The GP may opt to perform a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test; this is a blood test which can detect any antigens in your blood which arise if you have prostate cancer.

However, prostate cancer isn’t the only cause of a high PSA, so if this is detected you will also need to have other checks such as an MRI scan.

There can be numerous reasons for raised PSA levels in the blood, including infection or inflammation.

Dr Ranj added that the PSA test can lead to a "false positive" whereby a person is tested unnecessarily for cancer.

The test can also lead to a "false negative", which is when the PSA levels are normal and so cancer can go undetected.

"That's why the PSA test is not good enough for screening," said Dr Ranj.

Screening for prostate cancer has been on the medical agenda for a "long time", and there finally seems to have been a breakthrough, which the doctor went on to explain.

A new prostate cancer test has been developed by researchers at Imperial College London and researchers in India.

Taking a sample of 210 men with symptoms suggestive of prostate cancer, the researchers did a blood test that looked for cancer cells and not PSA.

A third of men went on to develop prostate cancer and the cancer cell blood test correctly identified over 90 percent of cases.

"That's really good," said Dr Ranj. "Even more importantly, it correctly identified the negative tests by 100 percent."

This means the blood test didn't lead to any false positive results, whereby cancer cells were identified when there were none.

"Tests like this offer new hope in terms of screening because we're looking for something a bit more accurate to be able to roll out to the wider population," the doctor elaborated.

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