Prostate cancer is the most common form of the disease in men throughout the UK. For many years, the tumour can remain undetected, as the tumour slowly grows in size. Once the tumour has amassed into a sizeable ball of cancerous cells, you might experience urinary issues. For example, the need to urinate – often during the night when you’d rather be asleep – keeps waking you up.
This may be accompanied by a sense of urgency but, frustratingly, when you get to the toilet, it may be a bit difficult to release yourself.
Straining to pee, or taking a long time to empty your bladder, can be signs of prostate cancer.
You might also experience a “weak flow”, said the NHS, and even after all that trouble of going to the toilet, you may feel as though your bladder hasn’t emptied properly.
A clear warning sign is when you see blood in your urine or semen.
Seven warning signs of prostate cancer
- Needing to pee more frequently, often during the night
- Needing to rush to the toilet
- Difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
- Straining or taking a long time while peeing
- Weak flow
- Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
- Blood in urine or blood in semen.
If you experience these signs of prostate cancer, it’s best to get it checked out by a doctor.
Sometimes, these symptoms could be indicative of an enlarged prostate (which isn’t cancerous).
However, you will not know for sure what condition you have until you get checked over by a doctor.
Medical testing might involve a urine and blood sample, prostate examination, and scans.
Cancer Research UK predicted that eight in 10 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in England will survive their disease for 10 years or more.
Statistics show that prostate cancer survival is improving, which has been attributed to PSA testing.
PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening can identify slow-growing cancer and aggressive prostate cancer.
Your doctor can share the benefits and drawbacks of PSA testing, as the service is not part of a national screening programme in the UK.
If you’re over 50 years of age, and you speak to your doctor about PSA testing, they can arrange for you to have the test carried out for free.
After various tests, if you do have prostate cancer, treatment might involve surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy.
If “low-risk prostate cancer” is identified, meaning it hasn’t spread beyond the prostate gland, you might not need treatment at all.
“If you have no symptoms, prostate cancer should have little or no effect on your everyday activities,” said the NHS.
However, if prostate cancer progresses, you may not feel well enough to do the things you used to do and enjoy.
After radiotherapy or chemotherapy, you’ll probably feel tired and need some time to recover.
Should the cancer spread to other parts of the body, other symptoms might slow you down.