What are the signs of prostate cancer? Needing to go to the toilet more often, particularly at night; taking longer to go to the toilet, starting and stopping and a pain or burning sensation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM WORRIED?
You can request a PSA blood test from your GP which measures the level of a protein in the blood, called prostate-specific antigen. This can be a sign of early prostate cancer. If this comes back positive, you can be sent to a specialist for further tests.
BUT ISN’T THE TEST INACCURATE?
Yes - to an extent. Some men will have high PSA readings and not have cancer, due to a urinary infection or enlarged prostate.
Other men who have cancer will have normal PSA readings. Your GP will look at your PSA readings and carry out other examinations before deciding whether you should see a specialist.
WHY ISN’T THERE A SCREENING PROGRAMME?
There just isn’t a reliable test yet. The PSA test would flag up too many false positives - men with high readings who do not have cancer. It may also miss men who do have cancer with low PSA readings. Scientists are in the process of developing a new method, based on a combination of blood tests and MRI scans, but this is unlikely to be ready for at least five years.
ARE SOME MEN MORE AT RISK?
Prostate cancer mostly affects men over 50 and the average age at diagnosis is between 65 and 69.
Men whose fathers or brothers have had the illness are two and a half times as likely to be diagnosed. Men are also at risk if their mother or sister has had breast cancer under the age of 60.
Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer, as are men who are overweight or obese.