Cornwall LivingIssue #134
Getting the facts
Duchy Hospital’s Consultant Urologist, Mr Nic Munro, clues us in with some helpful information about prostate cancer.
While ‘the c word’ is something we are all mindful of, and something we can only hope to avoid, the information available to us now is remarkable, and Consultant Urologist Mr Nic Muno at the Duchy Hospital has a wealth of it to set our minds at ease should we have any questions.
Prostate cancer accounts for over 12,000 deaths annually in the UK. It is the most common male cancer diagnosis and accounts for over a quarter of all male cancer deaths. Treatment can be lifesaving, albeit with life- changing side effects, and yet seven in eight men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer do not have their lives shortened by the disease, and many men never need treatment.
Am I at risk?
Prostate Cancer is usually a disease of older men and is almost never seen in the under 50s. It runs in families; a father with prostate cancer almost doubles your risk of prostate cancer. However, race and ethnicity are also an important factor; black men in the UK have double the risk of diagnosis and death compared with white men, whilst men of Asian ethnicity have half the risk again.
How do I know if I have prostate cancer?
This is not straightforward. Surprisingly, urinary symptoms are not seen commonly in men with prostate cancer. Most symptoms arise from a benign enlargement of the prostate gland, while advanced cancer may present with bone pain and weight loss, but this is rare.
Should I have a screening PSA blood test?
The level of the blood test PSA is usually higher in men with prostate cancer, so it would seem sensible to request a test to identify and treat any problem early, but it’s not quite that straightforward. On average, prostate cancer takes more than 10 years to cause harm. Studies have shown curative treatment shows benefit only in those with 10-15 years life expectancy, so PSA testing in the very elderly is unlikely to be helpful. In England, men aged 50-70 are entitled to ask individually for a PSA test after appropriate counselling, but testing is not routine.
“There are rapid changes afoot in diagnosing and treating men with this condition,” Mr Munro explains, “and I am confident that we can continue to offer contemporary first-rate diagnosis and treatment for men at risk of this disease in Cornwall.” To book an initial consultation with Mr Munro, make sure to call the dedicated Private Patient Team on 01872 438121 at Duchy Hospital.
Penventinnie Lane, Truro TR1 3UP