Cancer signs: The ‘often embarrassing problem’ associated with untreated prostate cancer
Prostate cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye discusses symptoms
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The prostate is a gland, usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older, according to Prostate Cancer UK. “It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine (wee) out of the body. The prostate’s main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm,” explains the charity.
The Mayo Clinic says urinary incontinence, the loss of bladder control, “is a common and often embarrassing problem”.
The organisation says: “The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time.”
It says that though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence is not an inevitable consequence of ageing, and if it “affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor”.
Indeed, loss of bladder control can be an indicator for more serious conditions, such as prostate cancer.
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The Mayo Clinic says: “In men, stress incontinence or urge incontinence can be associated with untreated prostate cancer.”
Nonetheless, it says that more often, incontinence is a side effect of treatments for prostate cancer.
Indeed, the Cleveland Clinic says: “Urinary incontinence sometimes occurs in men who’ve had surgery for prostate cancer.
“If you’ve had prostate cancer surgery, you might experience stress incontinence, which means you might leak urine when you cough, sneeze or lift something that is heavy.”
Cancer Research UK explains: “Prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. Most prostate cancers tend to start in the outer part of the prostate gland.
“This means that to cause symptoms the cancer needs to be big enough to press on the tube that carries wee from your bladder out of your body and is very unusual. This tube is called the urethra.”
It notes the following urinary symptoms are much more likely to be due to an enlargement of your prostate gland but can include:
- Passing urine more often
- Getting up during the night to empty your bladder (nocturia)
- Difficulty passing urine – this includes a weaker flow, not emptying your bladder completely and straining when starting to empty your bladder
- Blood in your urine or semen
Prostate Cancer UK says: “If prostate cancer breaks out of the prostate (locally advanced prostate cancer) or spreads to other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer), it can cause other symptoms.”
These include back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain, problems getting or keeping an erection, blood in the urine or semen or unexplained weight loss.
It says: “These symptoms can all be caused by other health problems. But it’s still a good idea to tell your GP about any symptoms so they can find out what’s causing them and make sure you get the right treatment, if you need it.”
It adds: “Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any signs or symptoms. But there are some things that may mean you’re more likely to get prostate cancer.”
Indeed, the charity says: “You may want to speak to your GP if you’re over 50 (or over 45 if you have a family history of prostate cancer or are a black man), even if you don’t have any symptoms. These are all things that can increase your risk of prostate cancer.”
Cancer Research UK says there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer because we do not have a reliable enough test to use.
The charity says you should talk to your GP if you’re worried about symptoms or have noticed any unusual or persistent changes.
Cancer Research says almost everyone will survive their prostate cancer for five years or more after they are diagnosed, if they are in the first stage.
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