23 Oct 2014
In - The Manual

When it comes to cancer, there’s always a story in the newspaper. One week coffee causes cancer, the next week it prevents it. Unsurprisingly prostate cancer has not escaped. Stories about what makes you more likely to get prostate cancer are everywhere. And misunderstandings about the disease are common. Our Specialist Nurse, John Robertson lays the facts on the line.

John Robertson Headset

Myth 1: Prostate cancer is an “old man's disease”

Prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 50 and the most common age for men to be diagnosed is between 70 and 74 years. This means that if you are under 50 then your risk of getting prostate cancer is very low. But it’s important to remember that whilst being diagnosed with prostate cancer in your forties is very rare - it can happen. Take Denton Wilson – he was diagnosed at just 42. So it cannot be said that prostate cancer is just an old man’s disease.  Find out more about how age affects your risk of prostate cancer here.

Myth 2: Prostate cancer is contagious

Not true. If you have prostate cancer, other people can’t catch it from you. Likewise you can’t catch prostate cancer from anyone else. Prostate cancer is caused when something stops working correctly inside your cells causing them to grow in an uncontrolled way and form tumours. Read more about prostate cancer.

Myth 3: "I don’t have any symptoms so I can’t have prostate cancer”

Not true. Most men with early prostate cancer do not have any symptoms - this was the case for Phil Kissi. If a man does have symptoms, such as problems peeing, they might be mild and happen over many years.

For some men the first noticeable symptoms are from prostate cancer which has spread to their bones. If this happens, you may notice pain in your back, hips or pelvis that was not there before. These symptoms could be caused by other problems such as general aches and pains or arthritis, but it is still a good idea to get them checked out by your GP if you are concerned.

If you’re worried about prostate cancer but don’t have any symptoms you can find out more about your risk of developing the disease. The use of PSA tests, digital rectal examinations (DREs) and prostate biopsies can help to diagnose prostate cancer in men even if you don’t have symptoms.

Myth 4: "I must have prostate cancer because I can’t pee against a wall from three metres away"

Not true. Not being able to pee against a wall from three metres away is not a definite sign of prostate cancer. But not having as strong a flow as you used to could be a sign of a prostate problem – along with other problems peeing such as needing to pee more often or needing to get up in the night to pee.

But even if you do have these symptoms it does not mean that you definitely have prostate cancer. These symptoms can also be signs of other prostate problems like an enlarged prostate or could be signs of another medical condition. Find out what signs and symptoms to look out for here. If you have any symptoms talk to your doctor about these.

Myth 5: “Just because my dad had prostate cancer doesn’t mean I’m more likely to get it”

Not true. If your father has been diagnosed with prostate cancer then you are two and half times more likely to get prostate cancer, compared to a man with no relatives with prostate cancer. The same is true if you have a brother who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

If both your father and brother, or more than one brother, have been diagnosed with prostate cancer then you may be even more likely to get prostate cancer.

You may also be more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother was younger than 60 when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Find out about who’s at risk here.

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