A LARGE proportion of men in the UK know very little about their prostate - even where it is and it does, writes Jane Begley, Uro-oncology nurse at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
But prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting men in the UK.
In 2010, approximately 41,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, which equates to more than 112 men each day!
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout March, is a good opportunity for men and their families to get all the information they need without feeling embarrassed.
The prostate gland, which lies under the bladder in men, is usually the size of a
walnut and surrounds the tube that men pass urine through. One of its main jobs is to produce a liquid that carries sperm.
Difficulty or pain when passing urine, needing to pee more frequently – especially at night - or even blood in the urine can all be signs that there is a problem with your prostate. While these symptoms can sometimes indicate prostate cancer, they may also mean you have an enlarged prostate or prostatitis – an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland – both of which can be treated with medication or surgery.
Some men find these urinary problems difficult to talk about and often put any symptoms they may have down to the aging process.
But if you have any of these symptoms or are worried or concerned, it is important that you seek advice from your GP, who will assess you and suggest any further investigations you may need.
Any diagnosis of cancer can be devastating news, but it is important to remember that if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer there are a wide variety of treatment options available which are tailored to each individual. In some cases, the disease may simply be monitored if caught in its early stages.
Prostate cancer, unlike many other types of cancer, can be present for many years without the patient realising as it sometimes has no signs or symptoms. In the main, prostate cancers are slow growing and tend to occur in older men, with about 75 per cent of new cases diagnosed in the over 65s.
More information on prostate cancer will be available throughout the month of March at Stafford Hospital, as part of the national awareness month.
Jane Begley is a cancer nurse who has specialised in Uro-oncology at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust for the past 8 years.
She has established a Prostate Cancer Support Group for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. The group meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Stafford Hospital’s Post Graduate Medical Centre, from 6-8pm. For more information contact 01785 257731.