The Prostate

Today we are going to discuss the Prostrate as it is often forgotten as something that needs to be checked by men due to lack of knowledge, denial or embarrassment. There are many adverts on TV encouraging men over the age of 50 to be more aware of their prostrate health. The adverts are not trying to scare men, they are trying to make the prostrate something that men can talk about without embarrassment.

The NHS website has some excellent advice on the prostrate and the problems that can occur and we refer to some of this content in this video. The other excellent source of advice is Prostrate Cancer UK. All men have a Prostrate and it is important for their sex life, but few men know anything about their prostate or what can go wrong with it.

According to a survey of men aged 45 and over by Prostate Cancer UK, 70% of them knew nothing about their prostate or the symptoms of prostrate problems.

The prostate is located just below the bladder. It produces some of the fluid in semen and is crucial to a man’s sex life. It is about walnut sized and the prostate fluid nourishes and protects sperm during intercourse and forms the bulk of ejaculate volume.

The prostate often enlarges as men get older, but for two-thirds of men aged 50 or over this doesn’t cause any problems.

In some cases, an enlarged prostate can press on the tube carrying urine from the bladder and cause urinary problems. This is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Other prostate conditions include inflammation of the gland, also known as prostatitis, which is sometimes caused by an infection. This can make urinating painful. Sometimes a single cell in the prostate starts to multiply out of control and cancer can develop.

The big fear among men is Prostrate Cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 30,000 men diagnosed annually. Around 10,000 men die from it every year, making it the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer.

The problem is that we are told that early detection is vital for treatment but most men with early prostate cancer have no symptoms at all making this a low priority within men.

Some of the symptoms of prostate cancer below can also be caused by other prostate problems like:
needing to urinate often, especially at night;
difficulty starting to urinate;
straining to urinate or taking a long time to finish;
Or pain when urinating or during sex;

Other less common symptoms include pain in the lower back and blood in the urine.

Many men over 70 have prostate cancer, even though most of them will never have it diagnosed or have any symptoms.

In the majority (80%) of cases, this is a slow-growing cancer and it may stay undiagnosed because it never causes any symptoms or problems and they die from other causes before this cancer is a problem. In the other 20% of cases, the prostate cancer cells can grow quickly and move outside the prostate, spreading the cancer to other parts of the body, such as the bones.

The risk of getting prostate cancer gets higher as you get older. Most men diagnosed with the condition are over 50. However, survival rates of newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients have improved from 30% in the 1970s to 80% today.

If you have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk of getting the disease is two-and-a-half times higher compared to the average man. The risk increases to 4.3 if the relative was diagnosed before the age of 60 and three times higher if he comes from an African or African-Caribbean background,”.

Researchers believe a diet high in saturated animal fats and red meat may be responsible for the high incidence of prostate cancer in Western countries. It is thought that reducing your intake of animal fat and eating more fruit and vegetables may lower the risk of prostate cancer developing or spreading.

There is currently no prostate cancer screening programme on the NHS. It’s up to the individual if they want to get tested. But too many men put off going to their GP if they develop symptoms because they are afraid of a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

So what can you do to get checked. This is simple and easy. Go to your doctor and tell them you want your prostrate checked. They will ask you a few questions and then check you which although a little embarrassing and a little uncomfortable, a quick painless check with instant results. The doctor is feeling for an enlarged prostrate with a finger through your back passage. If they detect a problem, they may do urine or blood tests or refer you but this does not mean you have cancer. There are many other causes including infections, cysts or damage from an injury you may not have noticed.

Finally, you may have agreed with this video and thought you need to get checked but your problem is asking the doctor. Just do it, their job is to discuss things like this, they are used to people not knowing how to say what they mean. If you think this will be a problem, write it down and hand your note to the doctor. They are very good at making you feel at ease.

We will look at this in more detail in later editions of the first aid show and look at what tests could be done if they find a possible problem.

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