Man using urinal

6 Jun 2024

P for Prostate

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK males (27%) and second-most common cause of cancer death – but it is easily treatable, especially if caught early. 

Although survival rates have never been better, the UK still experiences 11,900 deaths per year as a result of prostate cancer. The causes of prostate cancer are not fully understood but it tends to affect men aged 50 or over. It is more common in black Caribbean and black African men than in white men, and it is less common in Asian men. A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer depends on many factors and it is more likely if you have a close relative who has had prostate cancer.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland, whose function is to produce fluid, which mixes with sperm during ejaculation to create semen. Prostate function is governed by the male* hormone testosterone. 

The prostate sits just beneath the bladder and the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the penis) runs through the centre of the prostate gland. Hence, the most common symptoms experienced relating to prostate health are related to urination, such as: 

  • not being able to urinate or difficulty doing so such as straining or delay; 
  • poor urinary flow; 
  • increased frequency or urgency to urinate, particularly during the night; 
  • leaking following urination; 
  • a feeling like the bladder has not been emptied fully; 
  • pain or discomfort on urination. 

Fortunately, these symptoms are most commonly due to an enlarged prostate (commonly caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - a non-cancerous growth of cells) and can be easily managed with lifestyle changes, medications if required or occasionally surgery if this is deemed necessary. However, other causes can also include prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland) or prostate cancer, so it’s important to seek advice from your GP as soon as possible, if you develop any symptoms. 

 *'Men’ may include trans women, people who are nonbinary who were assigned male at birth and cis gender men.