31 August 2018
In the UK 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Prostate cancer deaths have now overtaken that of breast cancer and 32 men die a day in the UK due to late diagnosis. Some find it a difficult topic to discuss so here, with the help of Consultant Urologist Mr Adshead, we’ve answered some common questions for you.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
- Finding it difficult to urinate
- Having very frequent urges to go to the toilet
- Finding it paining or burning
- Having loss of bladder control
- Having a very weak flow when urinating
What’s the process when I go to get my prostate checked?
There are a few tests that may be carried out when investigating the possibility of prostate cancer. These include urine tests, a specific blood test called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and a rectal exam. Although the final decision is down to you, your consultant will advise which tests should be carried out for your specific symptoms.
If you have particular or unexplained symptoms, or your PSA level is raised, a rectal exam is likely to be suggested. There is no shying away from the fact that many will find this experience uncomfortable and embarrassing. However, the exam is usually over within 30 seconds, has been carried out many times before, and keep in mind that it could save your life. A rectal exam can’t confirm or rule out prostate cancer, but it can indicate the next course of action.
Results of raised PSA, or a lump in your rectal exam are likely to lead to a multi-parametric MRI scan, which can be much more specific. In many cases if the MRI is normal, a biopsy straight away may not be needed and monitoring the blood tests can continue. If a biopsy is needed here at Spire Harpenden we offer Precision Point transperineal biopsies under local anaesthetic with a little sedation. These are specifically and accurately targeted according to the MRI findings.
However, it is important to note that your PSA levels can be higher than normal for reasons other than cancer, including infection, inflammation or a large prostate. Recent sexual activity or cycling before a test can also cause a spike in PSA levels, so make sure your consultant knows about anything that could affect the results.
If you get a diagnosis of prostate cancer here at Spire Harpenden we have surgeons, such as Mr Adshead, that have performed robotic prostatectomy for longer than a decade and are experts at helping men keep their erectile function and continence. We also have expert radiation oncologists who will advise about the alternative, but just as effective, treatments other than surgery.
If you are concerned about your prostate or find you are experiencing some of the above symptoms, it’s important to get checked. Give us a call today: 01582 714 420 or book online with the consultant of your choice.