Prostate cancer begins in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer that’s detected early — when it’s still confined to the prostate gland — is more likely to respond effectively to treatment. The problem is, it usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years.
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As the NHS explains, symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).
When this happens, you may notice things like:
- An increased need to pee
- Straining while you pee
- A feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied
“These symptoms should not be ignored, but they do not mean you have prostate cancer,” explains the health site.
If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, however, you may experience a number of additional warning signs.
According to Cancer Research UK, if the cancer spreads to your lungs, for example, you may cough up blood.
Other signs the cancer has spread to your lungs include:
- A cough that doesn’t go away
- Ongoing chest infections
- Coughing up blood
- A build up of fluid between the chest wall and the lung (a pleural effusion)
How to treat advanced prostate cancer
If the cancer has advanced, this means it cannot be cured so treatment aims to control and relieve symptoms.
“Your doctors and nurses will help you to make the most of life and feel as good as possible for as long as possible,” explains Cancer Research UK.
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You should also turn to your friends and relatives as they can provide a robust support network, notes the charity.
Am I at risk?
There are two types of risk factors for cancer, those you can change and those you cannot, such as age and genetics.
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According to Cancer Research UK, one of the primary risk factors that are out of your control is age.
Prostate cancer is most common in men aged 75 to 79 years.
Another unchangeable risk factor is having a close relative, such as a brother or father, who has had prostate cancer.
As the charity explains, some inherited genes can increase your risk of prostate cancer.
Evidence also links unhealthy lifestyle decisions to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
According to the NHS, recent research suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.
There is also evidence to suggest a balanced diet and regular exercise may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer, factors that will also help combat the risk of obesity.
“Research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer, and there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer,” added the NHS.
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