Around 48,000 British men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, with one person dying from the disease every 45 minutes. The disease - the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the UK - came into focus last month when Oscar-winning Hollywood actor William Hurt died four years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
According to expert dr. It is important for Jiri Kubes that men know when and from what age they are entitled to be examined by a family doctor. And there are some symptoms to watch out for. dr Kubes is Medical Director of the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic, a facility that uses pioneering proton radiation therapy to treat many prostate cancer patients in the UK.
He said: "A lot of experience has been gained in recent years in raising awareness of the disease. But men need to know what this test really is and at what age they should ask a doctor for a test."
What is a prostate cancer test?
Dr Kubes said: "Although there is no national prostate cancer screening program, the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test is used as a diagnostic tool in the UK. PSA is a protein commonly produced by prostate cancer cells. Elevated levels detected by a simple blood test may indicate tumor.
According to NHS guidelines, a PSA of 3 ng/ml or higher is an 'elevated' level and a cause for concern if you are between 50 and 69 years of age. If the PSA test shows problems, you may have a digital rectal exam as well as an MRI scan of the prostate.
When can you request a PSA test?
"Under NHS guidelines, if you are 50 years of age or older, you can ask your doctor for a PSA test. However, and this is especially important, if there is a family history of prostate cancer, you can request a PSA test five to ten years earlier, at the age of five. 40 to 45 years.
“This also applies to black men. They can also request a PSA test at age 45, as research shows that they are genetically at a higher risk of developing the disease. It is also important to emphasize that you should be aware of the early warning signs of this disease as soon as you turn 40. And that's important.
“Research has found that about a third of men don't know what to look for when they have prostate cancer.
What are the initial symptoms?
“The main indicator that something is wrong is your toilet habits. If you find yourself showering more frequently or having to wake up a lot at night, you need to investigate the cause. You may also notice fluctuations when trying to urinate, prolonged and prolonged straining, and low flow.
“Some sufferers notice that their bladder doesn't seem to be completely empty. Blood in the urine or semen is another clear warning sign. But men should also be aware that prostate cancer can be asymptomatic until the tumor grows large enough to be a real problem.
"We see a lot of patients - in fact the majority - who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer without any symptoms."
What happened next?
“The good news is if you catch it early enough, your chances of survival are good. Most patients undergo a tumor biopsy with a tissue sample tested in a laboratory to see how quickly the cancer spreads. What happens next depends on the results of those tests."
What treatments are available?
“Prostate cancer can grow slowly. Your doctor may not believe that surgery or invasive treatment is necessary. It is not uncommon, especially in older men, to take an "alert" approach, in which the patient simply begins to actively monitor the tumor - undergoing routine tests - to see if it is getting worse and begins to show symptoms of the cause.
“Some patients choose to undergo prostatectomy – surgical removal of the prostate. However, this surgery has certain risks, especially incontinence and loss of sexual function.
Surgery does not guarantee that all cancer cells will be removed. Another common treatment is radiation therapy, or a combination of radiation therapy and hormone therapy, to stop the cancer from spreading and cell growth.
"As with prostatectomy, standard radiation therapy can see 'additional damage' when organs near the tumor are damaged by radiation. More and more people are now seeking newer alternative treatments that may not be available on the NHS.
“Proton therapy is an alternative to standard radiation therapy and is increasingly being used to treat some of the deadliest and most difficult to reach cancers – including the central nervous system, head and neck, breast, prostate and lymphoma. Unlike traditional X-rays, proton beam therapy particles stop tumors, reducing damage to surrounding tissues and organs and future "secondary" cancers.
“For prostate cancer patients, it can also radically reduce the chances of incontinence and impotence. Most importantly, patients with prostate cancer can be treated with protons for about five days with good clinical outcomes, provided that treatment is started in the early stages of the disease.
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