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Video

Dr Pixie:
Not many men know much about the prostate, yet prostate cancer is the most common cancer seen in men and kills over 9,000 people every year in England and Wales.

So what is it? Well, it’s a small gland between the penis and the bladder that surrounds the urethra—that’s the tube through which urine flows. It helps make the fluid that carries sperm out of the body during ejaculation.

As a man grows older, his risks of prostate problems increase significantly, especially after the age of 65. There are 3 main issues that can occur:

- Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland and might include symptoms such as pain in the pelvis, discomfort when urinating and ejaculating. It can affect men of any age, and in its various forms, around 1 in 5 men in the UK will suffer from it. Fortunately it’s usually easy to treat with a dose of antibiotics, though chronic cases can require more invasive treatments, such as prostate massage.

- Another common prostate problem is what is known as benign prostate enlargement. The prostate continues to grow as men get older, so it can squeeze the urethra and slow or stop the flow of urine from the bladder. Treatment options for this condition range from medications to reduce the prostate growth, through to surgical solutions that remove portions of the gland. If you are a sufferer, there are also lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the impact of the symptoms, such as avoiding drinking liquids before going to bed and reducing your caffeine intake.

- Thirdly, the most serious condition that can affect the prostate is a cancerous growth.

The underlying causes are not totally understood, but there are some risk factors that we know play a part. Age is important, as 70% of all cancer cases occur in men over 65. A family history of the disease also heightens risk, as does ethnicity, with men of African descent more susceptible. Diet plays a role as well, with men eating a western diet seemingly at a higher risk.

If you are displaying any symptoms I’ve been talking about, you should really talk to your GP about a prostate check-up. Many men are put off by this, perhaps due to the fact that the prostate is checked using a digital rectal examination, where a doctor inserts their finger into the rectum and touches the surface of the gland. If it’s hard and bumpy, it may be a sign of prostate cancer, while if it’s smooth and firm, it’s more likely to be a benign enlargement.

There are several options for treating prostate cancer, and what’s right for one man may not be best for another.

For some, the best treatment can be no treatment at all. If there’s not a significant risk that the cancer will spread, some choose not to undergo treatment as the side effects can include a loss of sexual desire, the inability to have an erection and sometimes urinary incontinence. In these circumstances, regular monitoring of the prostate is carried out to check for any worsening of the cancer.

If treatment is required, then the options include radiation therapy–-often utilising embeddable pellets—or hormone therapy, to restrict the male hormone that the cancer cells need to grow.

The most invasive treatment method involves a partial or total removal of the prostate, but in around 40% of cases, the cancer can spread to the surrounding tissue. In these circumstances, chemotherapy must be utilised as well.

Prostate cancer can’t be prevented, but you can take measures to significantly reduce your risks or possibly slow the disease’s development.

Diet is important, so eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and whole fibres. These all contain antioxidants that prevent cells from being damaged. The most important of these is called lycopene and it’s found in tomatoes, grapefruit and watermelon.

Avoid eating large amounts of red meat and dairy products and remember that exercise is also really important, as it strengthens your immune system and helps reduce the risk of cancer occurring.

So when should you get checked? Well, currently in the UK there’s no screening programme for prostate cancer as it’s not been proven that early diagnosis of the disease will significantly reduce deaths from it. Instead, if you start displaying any symptoms such as pain in your pelvis, weakened flow when urinating, pain when ejaculating or difficulty in emptying your bladder, then go and see your GP for a check-up.

Many prostate problems are benign, and numerous treatment options are available. Even in the most serious cases of prostate cancer, treatment is much more effective when caught early.

Read the video transcript

Dr Pixie presents a special video looking at the prostate and the various problems that can develop with it. The prostate is one of the few parts of the body that continues to grow as a man gets older, and this can lead to a number of problems that range from the benign, to the life-threatening. This video guide explains the process of getting your prostate checked, explains the various problems that can occur, and also provides advice on lifestyle changes that can be made.

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Comments and Questions

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The success rate of detection and treatment is low and there is a high chance that all the tests and treatments will not save your life. I have taken the decision not to go for screening which is so inaccurate.





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You appear to be very badly mis-informed. True the PSA test is a bit ify, but it does indicate whether further tests (biopsy etc) should be undertaken. As with all cancers, early detection is the key to a cure. I had no symptoms what so ever re my prostate, severe (and I mean severe) pain in my kidney area took me to A&E. They found a kidney stone, but the check for a bladder infection first is what showed up an enlarged prostate as well. My PSA measured 15 and the biopsy showed 2 types of aggressive cancer, thank you kidney stone. Removal was not an option for me as it had started to spread into the tubes, they used hormone therapy to stop it in its tracks and shrink it (it was the size of a grapefruit)to the size radio therapy could kill it. The side effects are a minor irritation compared to what was going to be very definitely fatal. In 4 or 5 weeks time I expect to be declared cancer free, the treatment will still continue for another 2 years because that's how they know from experience I will stay cancer free. Most men never know they have prostate cancer because if you're lucky you get the slow growing type. Are you feeling lucky? Please don't die of hearsay, ignorance of the facts or being scared of a finger up your bum!

Why is a woman narrating this medical procedure for men? Isn't it bad enough that the whole thing is embarrassing for a man without bringing the opposite sex into it?





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I agree. Where are the male experts? Are there none around.

My father is 82 yrs old,facing perhaps prostate problem.He never drunk,smoked,and never made e legal physical relation.main problem is he is suffering from constipation continuous paining on back side of hip,itching on pa nice .





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Been diagnosed with non bacterial prostitias symptoms include pain in testies , pain and stinging in groin and pelvis wet pinching tingling sensation , aching in back . Had this condition 8 years ago now it's come back since jan 2013 going on 4 months my meds are as follows tamsulosin from uro all tests clear also taking prostibit , zinc , and saw palmetto but no change in symptoms also changed diet but still no change could someone please help me ?





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This is very helpful

I have just been diagnosed with prostatitis, I didn't know what was going on with my body at the time. My symptoms started with a burning sensation when urinating with a frequent need to urinate all the time, pain in the pelvis (perineum), genitals (testicles), lower back and buttocks, pain when ejaculating. Just a complete ill feeling exhausted and 'tired all the time'. It took my doctors four months to get a right diagnosis! First I was put on trimethoprim which I was allergic to!,then sent to a GUM clinic, put on Doxycycline for two week had no effect much, all tests came back clear from clinic. Back to doctors with above problems still and asked to see a specialist. Finally booked in to see a urologist, thought it could be kidney or bladder stones, had the scans,all clear. Back to doctors again with chronic pain in the left testicle, put on more antibiotics with didn't seem to work, so had to return to doctors again and saw a different doctor who was a trainee, did a thorough examination,trainee doctor contacted my urologist and returned with a diagnosis of prostatitis. Now on ciprofloxacin for six weeks and hope things will clear up and don't want this to be chronic!





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I saw the dog searching urine for a cancer and I would like to ask how I could put myself forward for the test with the dog please, thanks rob.





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I had my prostate out over 2years ago and it had spread to the seminal vessel,so there were no clear margins. My P.S.A. has now started to rise. It was non dectable then it started to rise. It went from.069 then 3months later it was at.17 Obviously I'm worried. The dogs that sniffed out cancer, where are they based? And have you any advise.





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I have been monitored by my consultant since 2005 as regards Prostate Cancer at the start I had 4 lots of biopsy and no cancer was found, my PSA has been as high as 27 and never below 12.5 , I am 68 years old and I have a blood test every 6 months, I had 1 brother that died of bowl and prostate cancer and a younger brother that had his prostate removed and another that had an enlarged prostate. I have not had a biopsy now for 7 years and my consultant said if I had more they would be taken from between the groin now having seen your programme today 25/03 I saw the dog searching out a cancer and I would like to ask how I could put myself forward for the test with the dog, at the moment I have to put my trust in my consultant and I am concerned that I have to wear a pad because I am leaking urine and I get up during the night and I have 2 streams of urines sometimes, do you think I should ask my consultant if more biopsies should be carried out. I would be most grateful for any advice, Thank you





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I ALWAYS feel I want to pee even after I've just been. I have a split urinary stream & dribbling. I have to strain to start each pee, which will dribble out with no pressure. I've had a cystometrogaphy, been given medication and a bladder distension & a biopsy but nothing has helped. I'm 45 & a white male.





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Every now and then I get an increasing dull ache in the prostate area which then goes within an hour. I had a prostrate exam some 10 years ago and I was told I had a slightly enlarged gland. Is there any treatment for these inconsistant aches?





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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