Focus on prostate cancer: men must learn about disease, says specialist

A diagram illustrating the position of the prostate

A diagram illustrating the position of the prostate - Credit: Archant

Every man must take responsibility for his own health.

Nearly 40,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK and 10,000 men die of it – the equivalent to one an hour.

Numbers are rising at an alarming rate and it is predicted to be the most common cancer by 2030.

A new campaign launched by Prostate Cancer UK aims to raise awareness of this form of cancer, which affects 250,000 men in the UK.

Between 2007 and 2009 (the latest figures available) it killed 39 men in Tower Hamlets and 21 in Newham per year.

A medical specialist this week urged men in both areas to take responsibility for their health by getting checked out.

Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, Barts health consultant urologist, said: “Every man is at risk if you are over 50, of any race, but if you are black, your risk is tripled. If you have a family history of the disease, your risk is doubled. If you have two family members who have had it your risk is quadrupled – so family history is very important.

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“Men have to take responsibility for themselves. They need to go to their GP and say ‘I want to be tested’ and every man can be tested.

“There are symptoms, but you don’t need to have these symptoms to have prostate cancer.A lot of cancers are diagnosed on the basis of the PSA blood test. The symptoms are: slow urinary flow, going frequently to pass water, getting up in the night to go to the toilet, having to go in a hurry, having a delay before you can start flowing, or dribbling at the end, blood in your urine, and erection problems.

“The problem is that some of these symptoms can be due to age-related changes but the combination of a rectal examination and PSA blood test are best. Ideally, a PSA should be carried out once a year.

“My message to men is: you need to take responsibility for yourself and secondly, every man over the age of 50 (for black men it is 45), should be going once a year to be tested for prostate cancer with a PSA blood test and a rectal examination. That’s the only way you can pick it and cure it.

“In a quarter of the men where it is spotted, it has already spread and we can’t cure it. If we find it early enough there are treatments that will actually cure it.

“So men need to be aware of prostate cancer and be aware that it’s your right to got to your GP and be tested for it.”