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“For men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer there is tremendous hope that they’ll be able to live out their disease with fewer problems than their fathers or grandfathers did in the past”
Mr Marc Laniado, Urological Consultant at The Focal Therapy Clinic
WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
Prostate cancer is cancer that begins in the prostate gland.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located beneath the bladder and surrounding the upper part of the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The gland is a part of the male reproductive system that makes most of the semen that carries sperm.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in men in the UK, with over 47,500 men diagnosed each year. Most men (78%) who are diagnosed will survive their prostate cancer for ten years or longer. When diagnosed at its earliest stage 100% of men will survive their disease for five years or more. This is compared with around half of men, when their disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.
Prostate cancer is essentially caused by changes to the DNA of a normal prostate cell. Normal cells grow, divide, and die on a regular schedule. Sometimes something goes wrong with this process and the cells don’t die as they should. Instead, they create a lesion or tumour. Tumours can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
In localised prostate cancer the lesions are confined within the prostate gland and can be treated, often in a way which preserves the gland and its functionality.
While some prostate cancers confine themselves to the prostate gland, other types of prostate cancer can grow aggressively and need decisive treatment.
Like all cancers, the risk to life from prostate cancer is based on the cancer spreading out of the prostate gland and into lymph nodes, bones, and other vital organs. The best way to prevent this spread is to identify the cancer early. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chances are of the treatment being successful.
SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE CANCER
During the early stages of prostate cancer, many men will not experience any symptoms therefore a raised PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) level is often the first indication of suspicion.
There are a number of quite common prostate symptoms which can indicate an increased risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis:
- Increased frequency of urination
- Increased urgency in the need to urinate
- Weakened or interrupted flow
- Straining to urinate
- Erectile difficulty
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
While these symptoms may indicate other non-life-threatening conditions such as BPH or Prostatitis, it is vital that the possibility of prostate cancer is ruled out.
If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, your symptoms can also include the following:
- Change in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swelling or fluid build-up in the legs or feet
- Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
- Persistent bone pain which may lead to fractures
These symptoms can also be caused by prostate conditions other than cancer, such as BPH or an enlarged prostate.
What to do if you think you have prostate cancer
It is vital if you are experiencing these symptoms to speak with a doctor and have a thorough check-up to determine the underlying causes. Your physician will want to know how long and how often you have experienced these symptoms to help with your diagnosis.
Part of this check-up will include a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test to see whether there are elevated PSA levels in your blood.
In the UK, men with a raised PSA, typically above 4, will be offered an MRI scan of their prostate gland.
Read more about investigation leading to diagnosis at the Diagnosis page.
While there are no known direct causes of prostate cancer, there are some known factors that increase your lifetime risk of developing it – mainly family history and ethnic origin.
How can I reduce the risks of prostate cancer?
Many studies have shown that certain behaviours and lifestyles can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Some of these include:
Exercising: getting exercise most days of the week improves your overall health, helps you maintain your weight, and improves your mood. Beginners can start slowly and work their way up to more exercise each day.
Watching your diet: eating a variety of nutrient- and vitamin-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can improve your overall health, possibly even warding off prostate cancer.
Maintaining a healthy weight: aim to consume a constant and appropriate number of calories each day to keep your weight from fluctuating too widely. Consult your doctor to find your ideal weight and create a healthy weight loss plan.
Taking proper medication: your doctor may want to prescribe you certain medications if you are at a higher risk of prostate cancer. Drugs such as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors including finasteride and dutasteride can help bring down the overall risk.
Quitting smoking can also reduce your chances of developing it.
TREATMENTS FOR LOCALISED
Choosing a treatment and health care team is an important decision. Take the time to get educated on all available options and potential negative side effects to make the best treatment decision for you.
Depending on your diagnosis you may have a choice of treatments for your prostate cancer.
The best treatment for one man may not be the best for another. The right treatment for you will depend on many factors including:
- Risk of the prostate cancer spreading
- Gleason grade of the tumour
- Your age and general health
- Side effects of the treatment
Treatments options might include:
Read more about HIFU Focal Therapy treatment and whether it could be right for you.
“Traditional surgery often leaves men with long-term erectile dysfunction – four in ten patients will need a safety incontinence pad after a year and one in ten will be significantly incontinent. HIFU Focal Therapy would spare them these life-changing complications.”
Mr Tim Dudderidge, Urological Consultant at The Focal Therapy Clinic
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At The Focal Therapy Clinic we are passionate about prostate cancer sufferers knowing about all of their treatment options.
We know that settling on the right treatment is a big decision for you. If you would like to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable patient advocates about your diagnosis and the HIFU Focal Therapy treatment option then please do not hesitate to get in touch today.
All enquiries to The Focal Therapy Clinic are confidential, and we are delighted to offer our advice and support with no obligation.