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Prostate cancer - everything you need to know

Prostate Cancer Blog Post - Dr Michael Read - Vasectomy Gold Coast

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men, affecting 1 in 6 over the age of 50. It is also the second leading cause of male cancer deaths, behind only lung cancer. 

Men with a family history  of prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Other risk factors include being over 50 years old, being obese or overweight, and having a diet high in red meat and processed meat.

However, the only way to know for sure if you have prostate cancer is to have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This is a blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. Men over the age of 40 should have a PSA test at least every two years.

What is the prostate and what is its function?

The prostate is a gland that sits just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. The prostate’s main function is to produce fluid for semen.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

The signs and symptoms of prostate cancer can be difficult to spot, as they often mimic those of other conditions such as benign prostatic hyper plasia (BPH) or prostate infection.

Prostate cancer typically doesn’t cause any symptoms until it’s advanced.  As the cancer grows, men may experience:

– a need to urinate more often, especially at night

– difficulty in starting or stopping urination

– a weak stream of urine

– pain when urinating

– blood in the urine

– pain in the lower back, hips or pelvis.


How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Prostate cancer can be diagnosed with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, a digital rectal examination (DRE), or a prostate ultrasound.

PSA is a protein that’s produced by prostate cells. A PSA blood test measures the amount of PSA in your blood. If your PSA level is high, it doesn’t automatically mean you have prostate cancer however it does indicate that you should have a prostate biopsy to find out if there is cancer present.

A digital rectal examination will  help your doctor feel the prostate for any bumps or lumps which are often a sign of a cancerous prostate.

A prostate ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the prostate. This is usually done as part of a prostate biopsy.


How is prostate cancer treated?

If prostate cancer is detected early, depending on the stage of the cancer and your overall health, it can often be treated successfully with surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy. Some men may also need to have their prostate removed ( prostatectomy).

However, if it is not caught early enough, it can metastasise  (spread) to other parts of the body, such as the bones and liver, and become fatal.


What is the prognosis for prostate cancer?

The prognosis for prostate cancer depends on a number of factors, including the stage of the cancer and your overall health.

Prostate cancer has a very good prognosis if it is diagnosed and treated early. However, prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland can be difficult to treat and may have a poorer prognosis.

It’s important to remember that not all prostate cancers are aggressive. Some prostate cancers grow slowly and may never cause any problems.


How can I reduce my risk of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer can’t be completely prevented, but there are things men can do to reduce their riskThere are several ways you can reduce your risk of prostate cancer, including:

– eating a healthy diet

– exercising regularly

– not smoking

– reducing your alcohol intake.


The best way to beat prostate cancer is to catch it early. So if you’re over 40, make sure you have a prostate cancer test every two years. This will help to find prostate cancer early, when it’s more likely to be cured.


For more information on prostate cancer, please visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website: http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org.au/prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-information/


Of course if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, or have any other concerns, please contact us on 07 5531 3205 or use the form on this page.

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