How to check for prostate cancer
Like most cancers, early identification and treatment of skin cancer gives you a better chance of avoiding surgery or more serious outcomes, whether it’s melanoma or other skin cancers that may spread to other parts of the body.1 So, what can you do to spot skin cancers sooner rather than later? And are there any tell-tale skin cancer symptoms you should be on the lookout for?
Prostate cancer happens when abnormal cells appear and start to grow in the prostate (a gland that sits below the bladder and helps produce the fluid part of semen).1,2 These cells can start to multiply in an out of control way, sometimes spreading to other parts of the body.1
In Australia, prostate cancer is the number one cancer men are diagnosed with.3 In 2022 just over 24,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.3 Luckily, prostate cancer also has one of the highest survival rates.1 Still, as a man you should be aware of the risk factors and symptoms of prostate cancer so you can seek advice from a healthcare professional sooner rather than later.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
The first thing to be aware of is your age. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases the older you get. The risk of getting prostate cancer grows from 1 in 7 to 1 in 6 between the ages of 75 to 85.1,3
Secondly look at your family history - there is a higher chance of developing prostate cancer if a male in your family has developed it.1 Also if there is a history of breast or ovarian cancer - particularly those related to BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations.4
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
The tricky thing about prostate cancer is that there may be no symptoms early on. They may appear once the cancer grows big enough to start causing issues - which may take a while as prostate cancer can either be very slow growing, or very fast (aggressive).1,2,4
Things to look out for include:1,4
- Needing to pee a lot or without warning
- Difficulty peeing (trouble starting or needing to go but nothing coming out or only being able to produce a trickle)
- Discomfort when peeing
- Needing to get up and pee throughout the night
- Feeling like you need to pee even after you just went
- Seeing blood when you pee or ejaculate
- Pain in your lower back, upper thighs or hips or in your bones
- Unexplained weight loss
Of course these symptoms don’t always mean prostate cancer - but it is important to report them to a doctor and get yourself checked out just in case.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Your doctor will let you know what tests they think you should have. In general there are three ways of checking for an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer:1,2
- Digital rectal examination - this is the one where the doctor puts their finger into your rectum to feel the size of the prostate gland
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test - a blood test that measures the level of prostate specific antigen (a protein made by your prostate gland)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a scan of your prostate to see what’s going on
- Prostate biopsy - where a small piece of your prostate is taken to look for cancer cells - this is the only way to get a definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer
Make an enquiry
Find out more about prostate cancer and how GenesisCare can help.
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. What you need to know about prostate cancer. Available from: https://www.pcfa.org.au/awareness/general-information/general-information-resources/ (accessed August 2023).
- HealthDirect. Prostate Cancer. April 2022. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/prostate-cancer (accessed August 2023).
- Australian Government, Cancer Australia. Prostate cancer in Australia statistics. Available from: https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/statistics (accessed August 2023).
- Cancer Council. Understanding prostate cancer. Reviewed March 2022. Available from: https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/prostate-cancer/about-prostate-cancer/ (accessed August 2023).