Prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England. 1 in 8 men in the UK will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime and death rates are rising.
Black men are 2-3 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than their white counterparts, and death rates are twice as high. 1 in 4 black males will get prostate cancer during their lifetime and are more likely to develop it at an earlier age.
You may be thinking why is an osteopath interested in non-muscle and joint disorders?
Lots of diseases including prostate cancer can cause back and joint pain symptoms. My training and continued development, enable me to consider if each patients symptoms are related to conditions I can treat. If I suspect non-joint disorders, I am able to refer my patients to an appropriate medical professional, for further investigation.
I enjoy promoting health and wellbeing. This blogs aim is to raise awareness of the risk factors and signs and symptoms associated with prostate cancer.
What is the prostate gland?
The prostate is an oval shaped gland only found in men. It is the size of a small egg and wraps around a tube called the urethra, which urine travels within before it exits the body. The prostates main function is to produce semen, the fluid that surrounds sperm.
Prostate inflammation, enlargement and cancer
Complications with the prostate gland are not all caused by cancer.
Prostatitis: Swelling of the prostate gland, which can be caused by a bacterial infection or for an unknown reason. Prostatitis can appear in men of all ages although commonly occurs between the ages of 30-50.
Prostate enlargement (non-cancerous): Thought to be caused by hormone changes in men over the age of 50.
Prostate cancer: Develops when cells within the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably. Growth commonly occurs at a slow rate, although the speed can suddenly increase.
You are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer if:
- You are aged over 50.
- You are black.
- Your father or brother have it.
- You are overweight
Symptoms associated with changes to the prostate
Prostate cancer, prostatitis and non-cancerous enlargement can all increase pressure on the urethra and bladder. Increased pressure causes numerous changes associated with urination:
- Increased urge to urinate, especially at night.
- Delayed start when trying to urinate.
- Weakened urinary flow.
- Straining and taking a long time to finish urination.
- A feeling that the bladder hasn’t fully emptied.
- Dribbling urine before or after urination.
These symptoms can also be caused by conditions unrelated to the prostate. Because these symptoms are indistinguishable, prostatecanceruk.org recommends visiting your GP if you have been experiencing any of the above changes, or if you believe you are at risk.
In many cases prostate cancer cell growth occurs slowly and may not cause any symptoms for years. If diagnosed the doctor may simply advise the patient to monitor any symptoms, this is because many prostate cancers do not cause serious problems during a patient’s lifetime. In 10-15% of cases the cancer can be more serious, grow at a faster rate and spread to other areas of the body.