When it comes to prostate cancer, it’s important that men understand that the vast majority of males with early prostate cancer will not exhibit any signs or symptoms. While this may sound a little alarming, there are some things that may mean you are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Most doctors or GP’s will refer to these as ‘risk factors.’ Even if you don’t have any of the symptoms that are highlighted below, make sure to speak to your GP if prostate cancer runs in your family or if you are aged 50 or over.
What are the main symptoms of prostate cancer?
Most men will typically exhibit no signs or symptoms with early prostate cancer. One of the main reasons for this is the way the cancer grows and develops. You are only likely to experience symptoms if the cancer grows near your urethra and presses against it, as this will change how you urinate.
If you have noticed a change in the way you urinate, this is far more likely to be caused by an enlarged prostate, however it’s always best to air on the side of caution and get it checked out. Some of the possible changes you may experience include:
- A feeling that you have been unable to fully empty your bladder
- Difficulty in urinating
- Feeling the need to urinate more frequently, particularly at night
- A sudden need to urinate
If prostate cancer continues to grow and develop outside of the prostate or spread to other areas in the body, it can also cause a number of other symptoms, including:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in your urine
- Hip, back or pelvis pain
- Swelling or a build-up of fluid in your feet or legs
- A change in your bowel habits
How is prostate cancer treated?
For many men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, treatment is not always immediately necessary. If your prostate cancer is caught at an early stage and not causing any specific symptoms, then your doctor may decide on a treatment plan of ‘active surveillance’. This means that your condition will be carefully monitored to ensure the cancer does not develop further.
The good news is that some cases of prostate cancer can be curd if caught at an early stage. Some treatments include surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. You can find more information on treatment options here.
All of the main treatment options for this type of cancer come with significant side effects. These include urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. This is one of the main reasons why many men choose to delay treatment until there is a risk that the cancer could spread to other areas of the body.
There are a number of newer treatment options including HIFU or cryotherapy. HIFU stands for high-intensity focused ultrasound and both of these new innovative options aim to reduce these side effects and are now being offered as an alternative to hormone therapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
As we mentioned above, prostate cancer is difficult to catch in its early stages because it very rarely exhibits any physical symptoms. This is why it is vital that you are aware of any changes to your body and seek medical advice if you exhibit any of the symptoms we detailed above.