Prostate cancer: What are the signs and symptoms?
Stephen Fry is a much loved comedian, actor and writer who has been a mainstay of British television over the years. Stephen shocked fans a couple of years back after he publicly addressed his battle with prostate cancer. The comedian had his prostate removed after being diagnosed in December 2017 and is still undergoing radiotherapy.
Last month, Stephen, who has previously described his decision to have surgery as “dodging a bullet”, urged men to get proactive with prostate cancer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “It’s really important, and I do get a bit evangelical about asking men of a certain age next time they see a doctor, especially in the time of covid, to check.
“If they’re going to have a blood test then check for PSAs, as they’re called.
“These are little indicators in the blood that might show there is a chance that something is going on down in the prostate area.”
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Speaking on the Headliners podcast, the TV star also provided an update on his cancer status.
He said: “Every now and then I have a blood test.
“And earlier this year I had some radiotherapy, which is very common once you get the thing out, you mop out any stray cancerous cells.
“I have another blood test next week, so I hope it will carry on being an all clear. It’s been a strange experience.”
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Stephen drilled home the importance of getting tested by highlighting the sobering reality that anyone can be affected.
How common is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 47,500 men diagnosed with it every year.
According to the NHS, it usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years.
“Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra),” explains the health body.
When this happens, you may notice things like:
- An increased need to pee
- Straining while you pee
- A feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.
Am I at risk?
It’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.
Having a risk factor doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop prostate cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer is more common in men aged 75 to 79 years.
Your risk of prostate cancer is higher if you have a close relative, such as a brother or father, who has had prostate cancer, says the charity.
“Some inherited genes can increase your risk of prostate cancer. These inherited genes are rare and account for only a small number of prostate cancers,” it explains.
Being overweight or obese also increases your risk of advanced prostate cancer.
Researchers have found a link between being obese or overweight and cancers being higher grade (faster growing).
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