Raising awareness of prostate cancer symptoms this Men's Health Week | Bolt Burdon Kemp Raising awareness of prostate cancer symptoms this Men's Health Week | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Raising awareness of prostate cancer symptoms this Men’s Health Week

In recognition of Men’s Health Week which runs between 10-16 June 2024, I wanted to talk about prostate cancer – the most common form of cancer in men.

Statistics reported by Prostate Cancer UK suggest as many as one in eight men will get prostate cancer. Moreover, in those who are over 50 years old, are black, or have family history, their risk can be significantly higher.

Alarmingly, on average 144 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each day in the UK and so it’s worthy of greater awareness. However, as with many cancers, knowing the signs and getting an early diagnosis can be lifesaving.

Working with very many cancer patients over the last decade, and having had experience within my own family network, I know how far-reaching the effects of cancer can be for patient and their wider family.

It is fair to acknowledge that men, in particular, can be slow to recognise changes in their body and react. The reasons for this will vary and be individual to each person but what better time, during Men’s Health Week 2024, to highlight this hugely important topic so we all do our bit to encourage the men in our lives to open up on their health and talk about prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Problems while peeing; (urgency, weak flow, frequency etc)
  • Seeing blood in your pee or semen
  • Foot and/or leg numbness
  • Hip and/or back pain
  • Unexplained tiredness/fatigue.

As ever, the presence of these symptoms doesn’t confirm or rule out cancer. They could be explained by non-cancerous causes such as an enlarged or infected prostate, but will still require medical attention. Many prostate cancers caught early will be contained within the prostate and won’t cause any symptoms, whereas others may be more advanced and require a more invasive approach.

Prostate cancer testing

In the first instance and upon raising your concerns to your GP, they will decide what tests, if any, to undertake themselves and determine if you should be referred to a specialist.

Many men describe anxiety or fear around the prospect of a rectal examination. Whilst this is completely normal, your GP will almost certainly be well-versed in undertaking digital examinations skilfully and within a few short minutes. The exam is usually completely painless, although may be uncomfortable for a moment. The doctor will be looking for any unusual prostate features.

There is ample resource online which provides further advice on how to prepare for a rectal examination but do bear in mind this could well save your life.

Beyond the rectal examination, you may be asked to undergo blood tests (called a ‘PSA’ test) and depending on those results, you might have a biopsy and/or imaging done too.

Seeking support

For most, talking about intimate health matters isn’t the most attractive prospect. Do remember though that GPs are trained to deal with such matters in a compassionate and understanding manner. That said, men concerned about the risk of prostate cancer and unsure what to say to their doctor can fill in this form and hand it to their GP. The form has some helpful potential questions to ask your GP and will help your GP manage the appointment too.

Prostate cancer treatment

Treatment will of course depend on how contained the cancer is but there are a range of treatments available and they’re improving all the time. Specialist doctors and nurses are well placed to discuss your treatment options, the pros and cons and the availability of wider support for you and your family.

Treatments can involve active monitoring whereby the risk of any or any aggressive growth is low, to surgery and/or radiotherapy for prostate cancer diagnoses that require a more invasive approach.

At Bolt Burdon Kemp we have written this guide for those who are concerned about the standard of treatment received in respect of a prostate cancer diagnosis. The guide takes the reader through what prostate cancer is, more about some of the common symptoms and treatments as well as where concerns might warrant a potential claim in medical negligence.


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