Prostate cancer: No one should be embarrassed to get checked out by a doctor – Steve Cardownie

I have recently been approached by a couple of people enquiring how my treatment for prostate cancer was coming along.

Getting checked for prostate cancer could save your life (Picture: David Davies/PA)
Getting checked for prostate cancer could save your life (Picture: David Davies/PA)

They had read my previous offerings in this column which provided some background on the cancer and how I was first diagnosed. I am not going to bang on about my personal acquaintance with the disease, other than to note that it appears that my treatment has so far shown signs of success.

No, I would far rather concentrate on middle-aged men who have not had their prostate checked and what their reasons might be for avoiding a trip to the doctor’s surgery.

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The first could be that there is no sign of any of the symptoms associated with prostate cancer such as: needing to pee more frequently, needing to rush to the toilet, difficulty in starting to pee, straining or taking a long time while peeing, weak flow, feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully or blood in urine or semen.

However, the NHS website informs us that “prostate cancer usually develops slowly. So, there may be no signs for many years.” Another reason may be the “embarrassment” of undergoing a “digital rectal examination or DRE”.

In other words, they might not fancy the idea of a doctor sticking his/her finger up their jacksy to determine whether or not there are any abnormalities on their prostate. However, the medical practitioner will not be embarrassed in the least and would rather that any potential cancerous tumour is detected sooner rather than later as early treatment could be a life-saver.

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Also, men over the age of 50 can insist on a blood test to determine their prostate specific antigen (PSA) level which might indicate a problem exists.

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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Across the UK, more than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day. And every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 11,500 men every year.

However, the good news is that the survival rates for all stages of prostate cancer are high: more than 95 per cent will survive for a year or more, 85 per cent for five years or more and 80 per cent for ten years or more.

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Still too embarrassed to go?