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Prostate cancer

Cancer of the prostate, a small gland between a man’s bladder and his rectum, most commonly affects men over the age of 65.

>   Symptoms and risk factors

In the early stages, prostate cancer is unlikely to cause any symptoms. As the cancer grows, it may make you pee more often than usual, especially at night, or make it more difficult to pee. You might also feel like you’ve never completely emptied your bladder or often have an urgent need to pee. And you may see blood in your urine or semen.

Black men are at a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer and are also more likely to develop it a younger age. Being obese and having a family history of prostate cancer also increase your risk of the disease.

>   Diagnosis

In a quick, painless rectal examination, a doctor will check for anything unusual in the rectum. You’ll also have a test to measure the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood, although non-cancerous prostate conditions and getting older can also raise your PSA levels.

A specialised scan may then be necessary to provide a more detailed picture of the prostate and determine if you need a biopsy to check for cancer cells.

>   Treatment

Radiotherapy is sometimes the only treatment needed for prostate cancer, especially when it’s in the early stages. But surgery to remove the prostate completely will also be an option.

If cancer has started spreading from the prostate to other parts of the body, we may also use chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells or stop them coming back. Additionally, hormonal therapy can be used to reduce your levels of testosterone, which prostate cancer needs to grow.