You may have caught my recent posts on Mental Health & Suicide as part of the 2016 Movember campaign. Well, now it’s the turn of that word that no-one wants to hear – cancer, specifically prostate cancer.
An illness that attacks without prejudice; regardless of age, sex, race or creed, most of us will know someone in every demograph that has suffered from its seemingly endless reach.
Prostate Cancer – why’s it matter?
Did you know…? Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer amongst men – there are over 40,000 new cases every year in the UK. 1 in 8 UK men will suffer from prostate cancer at some point in their lives. 1 gentleman dies from prostate cancer every hour.
The Prostate – what is it?
Let us start on the basics, the prostate is a gland, it sits around your urethra (your pee tube) between your cock and bladder. Yes, this doesn’t mean it’s in your bum, but it does rest against the upper-forward wall of your rectum. It produces most of what you see when you cum – the thick white gooey mess.
It’s also the bringer of some of my most awesome orgasmic experiences, but those are stories for another day.
How do I know if I have prostate cancer?
This is where it gets really tricky I’m afraid. You see, prostate cancer develops s..l..o..w..l..y.. So, small incremental changes in your bodily function you might not notice until the cumulative effect makes you realise that something is not quite right. By then, things may be too late. This is exactly the reason why Movember seeks to raise awareness, and why I am supporting the cause.
Panic not though, since there are things you can look out for, being in tune with your body can only help, right? So, here are the main indicators of prostate troubles.
- Needing to pee more often;
- Needing to rush to the loo;
- Difficulty in peeing;
- Straining to pee, or taking a long time;
- Weak pee flow;
- Feeling like taking a pee hasn’t relieved your need to go;
- Difficulty in achieving erection or ejaculation;
Maybe now you’ll realise why prostate cancer creeps up on you… none of these signs become noticeable until the prostate has swollen enough to put pressure on the urethra.
There’s also some lifestyle indicators that might put you in a higher risk category of prostate cancer, and it’s all the usual stuff – being overweight, with a poor diet and low exercise. It also seems that there is an hereditary link – so family history puts you in a higher risk band, as does being aged over 50 and of being from African or Afro-Caribbean heritage. Bizarrely, there also seems to be a link between high calcium intake and prostate cancer; but little is really known about the cause.
What to do if you are concerned about your prostate.
Get yourself to your GP.
Unfortunately there’s no single simple way to say “yes” or “no” to whether you have prostate cancer. You can expect a urine sample, to check if your symptoms are the cause of an infection. You can probably expect a blood test for raised levels an antigen known as PSA. If those indicate the need for further investigation, you can expect the infamous finger up the bum.
None of these can confirm prostate cancer, but can eliminate other causes of your symptoms. If you’re at risk, then the next step will be a biopsy – yes that’s invasive, and possibly uncomfortable but the alternative might be cancer. You may also need an MRI scan.
The very nature of prostate cancer means that you’ll need a range of tests to be sure that you are heading down the right treatment pathway.