Prostate Cancer


Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, affecting approximately 40,000 men every year in UK. It is estimated that around 1 in every 8 men will be affected by the disease at some point in their life.



What are the causes of prostate cancer?

The exact causes are unknown; however there are some factors which might increase the risk of developing prostate cancer:


  • Age: this is the most important risk factor. Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 50 years and the risk increases as men get older. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 men in their 80's will have some degree of prostate cancer.


  • Family history: the risk of prostate cancer increases slightly in men who have a close relative (father, brother, uncle or grandfather) who has prostate cancer. The risk of developing prostate cancer is higher if your relative is diagnosed with prostate cancer at younger age (less than 60 years) or if you have more than one relative affected from the same side of the family.


  • Ethnicity: prostate cancer is more likely to develop in black men compared to white men and it is less common amongst Asians.


  • Diet: several studies have assessed the role of diet in prostate cancer. Unfortunately there is no single diet that gives you complete protection from prostate cancer. However eating healthy diet that is rich in fibres, lycopene, selenium, and low in fat and red meat may help to reduce risk of developing prostate cancer.



What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Early prostate cancer generally does not cause any symptoms. Commonly, prostate cancer starts in the outer part of the prostate away from the urethra. When the cancer is at an early stage, it does not cause any pressure on the urethra and therefore does not cause any symptoms.


The symptoms of growth of the prostate are similar to the symptoms of benign prostatic growth or hyperplasia (BPH) including:


  • Delay in starting urinary flow.

  • Weak / stop and start urinary flow.

  • Straining to pass urine.

  • Taking longer to finish urinating.

  • Dribbling of urine towards the end of the stream.

  • Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying.


Other possible symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine

  • Blood in the semen.

  • Pain when passing urine.

  • Difficulty in getting erection (erectile dysfunction).

  • Bone pain particularly in the back.

  • Weight loss and tiredness.


How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

This includes an initial assessment with careful medical history taking, examination of the prostate gland with a gloved finger in the back passage and PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test.


Depending on the results of the initial assessment, further testes may be carried out to confirm the diagnosis and to assess whether the cancer has spread. These tests include:




Stages of prostate cancer

Stage of the cancer determines how far the cancer has spread. The most widely used staging system is the TNM system:


T: refers to the size of the Tumour.

N: refers to if the regional Lymph Nodes are involved.

M: refers to if the cancer has Metastasised (spread outside the pelvis).


The T stages of prostate cancer:

  • T1 - the cancer is too small to be felt or seen during scan.

  • T2 - the cancer is felt or seen during scan, but contained inside the prostate.

  • T3 - the cancer is felt or seen breaking through the outer surface (capsule) of the prostate.

  • T4 - cancer has spread outside the prostate to the nearby organs including neck of the bladder, rectum (back passage) and pelvic wall.


The N stages of prostate cancer:

  • N0 - no cancer cells in the lymph nodes.

  • N1 - cancer cells spread into regional lymph nodes.


The M stages of prostate cancer:

  • M0 - the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

  • M1 - the cancer has spread into other body parts like bones or liver.



Grades of prostate cancer

Grade of prostate cancer refers to the appearance of the cancer cells under the microscope reflecting the behaviour of the cancer.


The most widely used grading system is called the Gleason grading which grades the cancer from the least aggressive grade 3 to the most aggressive grade 5. Typically two areas of the cancer are graded and the two Gleason grades are then added to form the Gleason score of the cancer.


The least aggressive cancer is formed of two Gleason 3 grade areas giving it a Gleason score of 6 (3+3), while the most aggressive cancer has a Gleason score of 10 (5+5).



Treatment options for prostate cancer

There are a number of treatment options for prostate cancer. The option or options that are offered to you will depend on your personal circumstances including your overall health, PSA value, stage and grade of the cancer and the risk of getting side effects.


All the feasible treatment options will be discussed at length with you to help you make the right choice.  These treatment options include:


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Private Secretary Contact

Debbie Coleman

KIMS Hospital

Newnham Court Way



ME14 5FT

Tel: 01622 538173