Prostate cancer accounts for 13% of all new cancer cases in the UK, and is the most common cancer found only in men. Around 130 people are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day, adding up to around 47,700 new prostate cancer cases in the UK every year.
In males in the UK, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death (around 11,600 deaths in 2016) despite increased screening and a steady decline in the number of prostate cancer deaths over the years. In England, there is no evidence for an association between prostate cancer mortality and deprivation.
The prostate is a gland inside a male body. It grows bigger with age, but is generally around the shape and size of a walnut. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the body (the urethra) and sits just below the bladder. The fluid that carries sperm – semen – is produced by the prostate. This is its main job.
Prostate cancer, benign prostatic enlargement (BPE) and prostatitis are the most common problems to have.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
When cells in the prostate begin growing in an uncontrolled way, this is called prostate cancer.
How long you live and your quality of life won’t be affected by some prostate cancers, as they grow too slowly to cause any problems. This means that treatment will not be necessary for many men with prostate cancer.
However, this is not always the case – some prostate cancers are more likely to spread and grow more quickly. This spreading needs to be stopped as it can cause problems, so treatment is necessary.
Types of Prostate Cancer
Adenocarcinomas are the culprits in the majority of prostate cancer cases. The prostate is a gland, and adenocarcinomas are cancers that grow in the tissue of a gland.
The speed at which prostate cancer grows can also be used to categorise it. Two types of growth have been identified:
- Nonaggressive, or slow growing
- Fast growing, or aggressive.
A tumour will grow very little over time or not grow at all if you have non-aggressive prostate cancer. However, bones and other areas of the body may be affected if you have aggressive prostate cancer, as this tumours can grow quickly and spread.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Symptoms won’t usually occur in those who have prostate cancer that’s contained inside the prostate (also known as early prostate cancer or locally advanced prostate cancer). Knowing whether or not you could be at risk is important for this reason.
Urinary problems can become an issue for some men with prostate cancer. These can also be a sign of a more benign prostate problem, but in either case can be mild and happen over many years.
Be sure to visit your GP or a cancer nurse if you think you might be at risk of prostate cancer or are experiencing any symptoms.
10 Key Facts about Prostate Cancer
- In 2016, prostate cancer accounted for 26% of all new cancer cases in males in the UK.
- Men aged 75 to 79 experience the highest incidence rates for prostate cancer in the UK.
- In the UK, prostate cancer incidence rates have increased by 41% in males since the early 1990s.
- In the UK over the last decade, prostate cancer incidence rates in males have increased by around 4%.
- In Northern Ireland and England, about two fifths of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage.
- In Scotland, about three fifths of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage.
- Most men will not experience any symptoms if the cancer is caught early on.
- Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases exponentially as you grow older. Men over the age of 65 account for around 60% of all cases.
- A non-smoking man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop colon, bladder, melanoma, lymphoma and kidney cancers combined.
- You are nearly 2.3 times more likely to die from the disease if you are of African descent than if you are white, and 73% more likely to develop prostate cancer in the first place.
For more information about prostate cancer cancer, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Prostate Cancer which provides straightforward information on the disease: from what the prostate is and how to recognise the symptoms of the condition, to what happens during screening and diagnosis, and the treatments available. Need2Know also have some great books about breast cancer, skin cancer and bowel cancer. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, caring for a friend or just curious, we have all the information you need!