November has become a month synonymous with moustaches but has the real message behind the fundraiser become a little lost? Nuffield Health Bournemouth is working to raise awareness of men’s health and the most common cancer in men in the UK.

Although 41,000 men are diagnosed with the disease each year, there is still a worrying lack of knowledge of prostate cancer, which can have little or no symptoms.

Consultant urologist at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, Mr Carter explains: “A family member or a friend discovering they have the disease seems to be the biggest spur for men to check for prostate cancer.”

So what is prostate cancer and how can it be detected?

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a gland, usually the size and shape of a walnut, which is situated underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra that men pass urine and semen through. Cancer can develop when cells in the prostate grow in an uncontrolled way.

Who is at risk?
Men are more likely to test positive for the disease if they have a family history of prostate cancer, are African-Caribbean or are over the age of 50.

What are the symptoms?
In a gland the size of a walnut some cancerous tumours may be too small to cause any pressure effects so can remain undetected for some time. However, by the time the tumour is big enough to notice the cancer could be too advanced. Experiencing difficulty when passing urine or urinating more frequently can be symptoms but they can also be signs of an enlarged prostate.

Should all men be screened for prostate cancer?
According to Mr Carter, the public should be informed of the benefits and risks of screening for prostate cancer.

“Patient views are paramount. It is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of testing and treatments with your doctor. Screenings have been shown to be beneficial in some trials but it can cause emotional worry and also lead to over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

“The prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test may detect cancers in the prostate gland that enable lives to be saved, but it may also detect cancers that might never progress to cause any health problems.”

In the UK there are currently 250,000 men living with the disease and many die with prostate cancer rather than as a result of it, as the disease tends to progress very slowly.

Mr Carter believes: “The right diagnosis is vital in enabling us to provide the best possible treatment for the patient.”

Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital provides the following tests to check for prostate cancer:

  • A PSA test to help diagnose and manage prostate problems
  • MRI and CT to examine the prostate in detail
  • Biopsy

Treatments available at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital are:

  • Surgery to remove the prostate gland
  • Hormone therapy

Mr Carter will present on Men’s Health to local GPs at 7pm on Tuesday 8th December 2015.  GPs wishing to attend  should contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 375032.