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Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland – a walnut sized gland at the base of the bladder in men. Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any signs or symptoms. “Prostate cancer does not usually cause any symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra),” explains the NHS.
When this happens, you may experience sudden erectile dysfunction, according to non-profit cancer treatment and research organisation Moffitt.
A sudden erectile dysfunction is a sudden loss of sexual desire or the ability to have erections.
“The penis doesn’t get hard enough, or it gets hard but softens too soon,” explains Harvard Health.
According to the health body, when such difficulties occur regularly, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Other warning signs include:
- A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
- Frequent urination, particularly at night
- Difficulty stopping or starting urination
- Blood in urine or semen.
“Other possible early signs of prostate cancer include unusually weak urine flow and unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting,” explains Moffitt.
According to the hearth body, if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, men may experience swelling in the lower body, back or hip pain, abnormal bowel habits or unexplained weight loss.
“It is important to note that the signs of prostate cancer are also shared by many other, less-serious conditions,” it adds.
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How is prostate cancer treated?
According to the NHS, for many men with prostate cancer, no treatment will be necessary.
“When treatment is necessary, the aim is to cure or control the disease so it affects everyday life as little as possible and does not shorten life expectancy,” explains the health body.
It adds: “Sometimes, if the cancer has already spread, the aim is not to cure it but to prolong life and delay symptoms.”
Am I at risk?
It’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.
It is important to note that having a risk factor doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop prostate cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer is most common in men aged 75 to 79 years.
Prostate cancer is more common in black-African men than white men – it is least common in Asian men, says the charity.
Your risk of prostate cancer is also higher if you have a close relative, such as a brother or father, who has had prostate cancer, it says.
Researchers have found a link between being obese or overweight and cancers being higher grade (faster growing).
Obese means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and being overweight means having a BMI of between 25 and 30.
“Try to keep a healthy weight by being physically active and eating a healthy, balanced diet,” advises Cancer Research UK.
As it explains, there is some evidence that being active might help to lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.
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