Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer is a very common problem in the UK. Over 35,000 new men a year are being diagnosed and around 10,000 men a year will die from the disease. Overall it is one of the most common cancers diagnosed. If picked up early it is very treatable, however prostate cancer has a wide spectrum of disease and a lot of the more milder forms may not need any treatment. This is where your Urologist will explain what is the most appropriate form of treatment for you.

Commonly men ask what has caused the disease. Quite often it is not possible to identify a particular cause. However it does run in families and more common if a father or brother has had the disease before, this is more important if the relatives were diagnosed at an earlier age. It is also more common in the western world as opposed to Asia, and more common in Afro-Caribbean’s. There are also some environmental causes particularly diet.

A diet high in fat and red meat may increase the risk of the disease. Also Calcium and dairy products have been implicated as a possible cause although patients should be warned that evidence here is not strong and any dietary changes should be made upon consultation with your doctor. It is important to have a healthy balanced diet. There are some foods that have been found to be protective against prostate cancer, particularly green tea, lycopenes(found in cooked tomatoes), soy, pulses, cruciferous vegetables and pomegranate juice, although again the evidence here is not strong. Previously Vitamin E and selenium were thought to be protective although a large scale trial has discounted this.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed by

  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)Urine test to rule out infection
  • PSA blood test (some patients may require more than one test)
  • Prostate Biopsies 
  • Plus additional scans such as MRI, Bone scan and CT scan in some selected patients

Your GP may offer to test your blood for the PSA test. Alternatively you can ask to be tested after an appropriate explanation about the test and its limitations by your GP.