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32 Health & Fitness Talking about prostate cancer by Niamh Ollerton The big C. No matter what type, the word ‘cancer’ still sends a shiver down many spines, and those who have been personally affected by the disease know the difficulties and heartache that occurs at the hands of cancer. New figures released by Prostate Cancer UK in early February 2018 found prostate cancer is now a bigger killer than breast cancer – about one in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives – meaning the male-only disease is now the third most common cancer to die from, after lung and bowel cancer, with one man dying every 45 minutes. The research from Prostate Cancer UK revealed that 11,819 men now die from prostate cancer every year in the UK, compared to 11,442 women dying from breast cancer. Only men have a prostate gland which sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube men urinate and ejaculate through. It is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. When cells in the prostate begin to grow in an uncontrolled way, prostate cancer can develop. The cancer often grows slowly to start with and may not cause problems, but in some cases the cancer
33 is more likely to spread and treatment is necessary to stop it spreading outside the prostate. If contained within the prostate (localised prostate cancer or early prostate cancer) there usually are no symptoms, but some men may suffer from urinary problems. These can be mild and happen over many years and may be a sign of a benign prostate problem, rather than prostate cancer. The risk Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and the risk increases with age, and the average age for diagnosis is between 65 and 69 years. Men under 50 can get it, but it isn’t common. But, you may also have a high risk if you’re over 45 and have a family history of prostate cancer or are a black man. If you’re worried about your risk, do speak to your GP. You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother had it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer. And the chance may be greater if your father or brother, or more than one close relative was under 60 when diagnosed. If your mother or sister had breast cancer, and were diagnosed under the age of 60 and had faults in genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2 your risk of getting prostate cancer is higher. Although your risk of getting prostate cancer may be higher due to the factors given above, it doesn’t mean you will get it. March for Men Official fundraising events will be held across the summer months in aid of Prostate Cancer UK