13 March 2017
Men over 50 are being urged to take the test as soon as possible in an effort to cut the number of lives a year lost to prostate cancer. And they are also appealing to wives and girlfriends to ‘bring the subject into the open’ if their menfolk are still putting off getting themselves tested.
As part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout March, consultant urologist Mr Lee Robinson wants to see a big rise in the number of men visiting their GP for an examination that could save their life. He explained “There isn’t any point skirting around the subject, the most common test usually involves a ‘digital examination’. That means the doctor feeling inside the man’s back passage – it’s a simple as that!
“It is common practice for the doctor, usually takes less than a minute, is relatively painless and can save your life – so what are you waiting for!”
Mr Robinson, who practices at Spire Cheshire Hospital in Warrington, said: “Many men are embarrassed by the thought of this and so put off the test. If someone has a loved one over 50-years-old who they know hasn’t been tested I want them to use awareness month to bring the subject up and help take away that embarrassment factor.”
The causes of prostate cancer, which is responsible for more than 10,000 UK deaths each year, are largely unknown but what is certain is that chances of developing it increase in men over 50 years of age. Although it is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent it is actually less common in men of Asian descent.
Men whose father or brother has been affected by prostate cancer are also at higher risk of being affected themselves.
“A blood test known as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can be the first step to checking for cancer but this can only supply an indicator. The problem with the PSA test is that levels can be raised by non-cancerous growths or urinary infections of the prostate. But it is better to be safe than sorry and, if necessary, a follow-up test will then allow doctors to be much more exact in their diagnosis.
“The good news is that, if spotted in time, prostate cancer is very treatable with latest figures showing that 84% of those treated live for 10 years or more after treatment,” Mr Robinson added.
Prostate Cancer Facts*
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
- Over 46,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that's more than 120 men every day.
- Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer – that's more than 10,500 men every year.
- 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Over 330,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.
*All statistics taken from Cancer Research UK