Prostate cancer is the second most common form of male cancer, right behind skin cancer. It develops in the prostate – a walnut-sized gland that sits just below the bladder. Prostate cancer can grow very slowly, but some types are more aggressive and can spread quickly without appropriate treatment.
Some men may not show any symptoms during early stages, but should keep an eye out for:
- frequent urination, especially at night
- difficulty starting or stopping urination
- weak or interrupted urinary stream
- painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
- blood in urine or semen
- deep pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
These symptoms may not mean you have prostate cancer, but if you experience any of them, go and see your doctor.
The two factors most strongly linked to an increased chance of developing prostate cancer are age and family history.
Prostate cancer is an age-dependent disease, which means the chance of developing it increases with age. The risk of getting prostate cancer by the age of 75 is one in seven men. By the age of 85, this increases to one in five.
If you have a first-degree male relative with prostate cancer, you have a higher chance of developing it than men with no such history. The risk increases again if more than one male relative has prostate cancer. Risks are also higher for men whose male relatives were diagnosed when young.
There is some evidence to suggest that eating a lot of processed meat or food that is high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer usually grows quite slowly, and nine out of 10 cases are found in the early stages. Overall, the five-year relative survival rate is 100 per cent for men with disease confined to the prostate or nearby tissues. Many men live much longer. If the disease has spread far beyond the prostate, the survival rate drops to 28 per cent.
Read more at Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.