Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer

This is the most common Cancer in men

Prostate Cancer

It’s estimated that around 50% of all men over 50 could have Cancer cells in their prostate.

Prostate Cancer is serious business, and is the most common Cancer affecting men in the UK, with over 40,000 being diagnosed each year.

Prostate Cancer affects the prostate gland that sits under the bladder and surrounds the urethra (which you urinate or ejaculate through). However, this Cancer is different to most others as it can develop very slowly over a number of years, which means it might be a long time before you notice any symptoms.

Most of the time, symptoms only appear when your prostate becomes large enough to affect the urethra (which could affect your bathroom habits).

It’s estimated that around 50% of all men over 50 could have Cancer cells in their prostate. This figure could be as high as 80% for men over 80 having a small area of Prostate Cancer. Due to the slow growth though, this may not cause any problems for elderly men.

However, in some cases Prostate Cancer can grow more quickly and even spread to other parts of the body (such as the bones). So it’s important to have regular screenings (especially as you get older) and get checked out by a doctor if you notice anything unusual.

100 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer every day in the UK alone

1 in 8 men will get Prostate Cancer at some point in their lives

75% of cases of Prostate Cancer are diagnosed in men aged 65+, only 1% is found in men under 50

80% survival rate of five years or more for Prostate Cancer


The largest risk factor of Prostate Cancer is age. There’s a very low risk for the under 50s, with the risk increasing more as you get older.

Other risk factors that are linked with Prostate Cancer include:

  • Family history (close relatives, i.e. a father, brother, grandfather or uncle who’ve had it)
  • Ethnicity (black African and black Caribbean men are 2 – 3 times more likely to develop Prostate Cancer than white men. Asian men have a lower risk of Prostate Cancer)
  • Bowel Cancer (if you’ve had Colon Cancer in the past, you may be more likely to be at risk from Prostate Cancer)


Sadly, due to where the gland is, early Prostate Cancer tends not to cause many symptoms. It’s only when the lump gets big enough to press on the urethra that you may start to notice anything’s a bit off. These symptoms might make you need to go to the loo all the time, or start having trouble starting, straining or taking a long time to finish going.

Other common symptoms of Prostate Cancer can include:

  • Pain in the lower back, hips or pelvis
  • Pain during sex or difficulty keeping hard
  • Blood in the urine or semen (though this is rare)

Having these symptoms doesn’t mean the worst – older men sometimes have a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate – but you should get checked out by your GP.

Your GP will offer advice on whether you should take a test. They may ask for a urine sample, or feel the prostate through a rectal exam to see if it’s large. Another way is to test whether PSA levels have increased in your blood. PSAs are Prostate-Specific Antigens, a protein which is created by the prostate.

PSA tests are not always reliable as your PSA levels could be raised for reasons other than Cancer. So make sure you discuss the pros and cons of any tests with your doctor first so you fully understand your options.


It’s best to get routine prostate exams at your GP around once a year (especially once you reach 50), but in between these it can be worth checking yourself too. Here’s a handy guide on how to check your prostate at home:

  • If you feel more comfortable, you may prefer to use gloves to perform the self-exam
  • Apply a small amount of lubricant to your fingers
  • Put one foot up on the toilet seat, then bend over and spread your legs so they’re a couple of feet apart
  • Gently insert your forefinger into your rectum
  • Find your prostate gland (it’s about the size of a walnut, and pretty hard to miss once you find it)
  • Rotate your finger and examine your entire prostate – looking out for any unusual lumps, substantial changes in size or whether it’s too firm (if it feels as hard as your knuckle, then it’s too firm)

If you feel anything unusual, then pay your GP a visit in case there are any underlying problems.

Other Cancer Types: