What is Prostate Cancer? Symptoms, Assessments & Treatment

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer like any other cancer develops following a change in healthy cells; these abnormal cells build up into potentially life-threatening tumours that can aggressively begin to consume healthy tissue. Prostate cancer develops slowly, but in some cases it can be aggressive and develop much quicker and can spread to tissue outside the prostate.

Prostate Cancer
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Typical Symptoms

Symptoms may initially go un-noticed but may include a pain in the back, pelvis or thighs, an interrupted flow or blood in your urine, an abnormal frequency in your urge to urinate, a change in your sexual desire and an inability to get or maintain an erection. Patients with a family history of prostate cancer are up to three times as likely to develop the condition.


Initial assessments such as CT scans, DRE, ultrasounds and PSA tests provide indicative information about the prostate or urinary tracts, however only biopsies can confirm the presence of cancer. Biopsies, such as a TRUS or template biopsy involves the surgical removal of a small amount of  tissue. Unnecessary biopsies can be reduced with the use of MRI scanners, which provide detailed assessments of a patients’ prostate and their individual cancer risk.


Treatment depends entirely on how far the prostate cancer has developed. Initial treatment options may involve targeted radiotherapy such as focal therapy and chemotherapy. Alternatively, your consultant may decide on a radical and if viable a nerve-sparing prostatectomy. If the cancer has spread outside of the prostate in to surrounding organs and tissue hormone therapy and advanced cancer options maybe the preferred route.

If you tick the symptom boxes please don’t be anxious seek professional help. The earlier the diagnosis the better the outcome.

Who is at Risk?

Cancer is more likely to develop in the prostates of older men and those with a poor diet. Obesity is believed to incur more aggressive forms of cancer and may dictate the form of cancer that develops. Ethnicity may impact risk levels; research shows that Afro-Caribbean men are more prone to the disease, while men from the Far East are least likely to receive a positive diagnosis.

While factors such as age, ethnicity, diet and obesity can impact prognosis, prostate cancer is now one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the developed world. The cause is much of a phenomenon and research is continuing leading to better assessments and treatment pathways.

Reference; Hopkins Medicine, Typical Symptoms Presented, March 2021

I have just been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer? What to do?

Learn about prostate cancer, its stages, treatments, and potential side effects. Understanding the disease can help you make informed decisions and feel more in control.

Reach out to support groups and online communities that specialise in prostate cancer. Talking to others who have gone through similar experiences can provide emotional support, advice, and a sense of belonging.

Share your feelings and concerns as open communication can help reduce anxiety and allow others to offer their support. Find other healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Try starting a new hobby. If you are struggling seek professional help from therapists or counsellors.

Stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle: Engaging in suitable physical activity can have numerous benefits for your physical and mental well-being. Follow a balanced diet, avoid smoking and excess alcohol and try and get adequate sleep.

Discuss treatment options, potential side effects, and their impact on quality of life with your healthcare team. Consider getting a second opinion to ensure you have explored different perspectives.

Engage in activities that you enjoy and that promote relaxation and self-care, such as reading, listening to music, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness. Take everyday as it comes. Stay positive and do not over-think things too much.

Can you cure prostate cancer? Surprising answer!

Cure an individual with prostate cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, the aggressiveness of the cancer, and the overall health and individual response to treatment. In many cases prostate cancer can be effectively treated and even cured, especially when detected early.

Treatment options for prostate cancer include;


Surgical removal of the prostate gland, known as a prostatectomy, may be recommended for localised prostate cancer. This can be done through various techniques, such as open surgery or minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery.

Radiation therapy

High-energy beams are used to target and kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy such as focal therapy can be delivered externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy), where radioactive seeds are placed directly into the prostate.

Active surveillance

For certain cases of low-risk prostate cancer, especially in older men, active surveillance may be recommended. This involves closely monitoring the cancer with regular check-ups, PSA tests and possible biopsies to determine if alternative treatment is necessary.

Hormone therapy

Prostate cancer cells often rely on male hormones, such as testosterone, to grow. Hormone therapy, also known as androgen deprivation therapy, aims to reduce the levels of these hormones to slow down or shrink the cancer.


Cancer fighting drugs may be used in advanced or metastatic prostate cancer cases to target cancer cells throughout the body.

Targeted drug therapy

Specific drugs are available to target certain genetic or molecular characteristics of the cancer cells, disrupting their growth and survival. This treatment is not always appropriate.

As always talk to your healthcare professionals who can assess your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

How does prostate cancer can change your life?

Prostate cancer can have a significant impact on a person’s life. Here are nine ways prostate cancer can bring about changes: Remember you are NOT ALONE. Talk openly and honestly with friends and loved ones. Find local support groups, it really helps in contextualising what is happening, and if you are struggling ask your GP or healthcare professional.

  1. Prostate cancer can trigger a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, worry and stress. Coping with these emotions and adapting to the challenges of the disease can be a significant aspect of a person’s experience.
  2. Treatment for prostate cancer can lead to various physical challenges that may include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, bowel problems, and potential side effects from surgery, radiation therapy, or other treatments.
  3. Prostate cancer can really affect relationships, both with partners and family members. Understanding, and support are crucial during this time. Sexual relationships may also be impacted, requiring patience, honest and open conversations, support and possible professional help.
  4. The costs associated with prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care can be substantial. In the UK we have the NHS which can alleviate some the costs if you are elsewhere this may include medical expenses, medications, and follow-up appointments. There is also the fact you may have to take time off work.
  5. Prostate cancer may result in changes to work schedules and reduced productivity during treatment and recovery. Talking with your employer about expectations can be very helpful in managing these challenges.
  6. You may have to make changes to your lifestyle such as adopting a different diet, engaging in regular exercise, quitting smoking, or reducing alcohol consumption.
  7. Cancer can prompt a need for increased social support. Joining support groups, connecting with other individuals going through similar experiences, or seeking counselling can provide a valuable source of understanding and support.
  8. Be prepared for the long haul. Ongoing monitoring will be necessary to ensure the cancer remains under control and to manage potential side effects or complications.
  9. A change in life perspective. Prostate cancer can lead to a re-evaluation of priorities, values, and life goals. It may inspire individuals to make positive changes, focus on personal well-being, and above all appreciate life.
    Every individual’s experience with prostate cancer is unique, and the impact on their life will vary. It’s important to consult with healthcare professionals, seek support from loved ones and support networks, and address the physical, emotional, and practical challenges that may arise during this time.

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  1. rolf meys

    Extremely well explained am very grateful for your information

  2. Rainer Boegner

    Thanks for the accurate and easy to understand explanation. God bless you.

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