As the name suggests, prostate cancer forms in the prostate, the walnut-shaped gland in men that is responsible for producing seminal fluid and transporting sperm.
It is the most common cancer in men. 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and, sadly, every hour a man dies from the disease. In recent decades however the survival rate has improved thanks to PSA testing; today the ten-year survival rate in the UK is approximately 77%. This highlights the importance of early diagnosis because, like all cancers, the sooner it is diagnosed the better the treatment options are.
In an ideal world you would be diagnosed before you even experience symptoms. Fortunately, this is possible with an Echelon Health Assessment, which includes the gold-standard prostate cancer test in London. In this post we will explore the common symptoms of prostate cancer, what a diagnosis typically involves and what you can expect from a prostate cancer test in London with Echelon Health.
What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer?
- Blood in your urine
- Blood in your semen
- A burning sensation when you are urinating
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequent urges to urinate at night
- A loss of bladder control
- Pain when you ejaculate
- Erectile dysfunction
- Discomfort in your pelvic area
Symptoms can vary between patient to patient, so you might not experience every prostate cancer symptom listed and often prostate cancer symptoms are subtle or non-existent during the early stages of the disease. This is why early detection is so important. However, we tend to only see our GP once we are experiencing symptoms, by which point the cancer has had a chance to progress. Like all cancers, if not treated in time it may metastasise and spread into other tissues and organs.
When cancer spreads, it can make treatment more difficult and can lead to a poorer prognosis. This is why having a prostate scan test is so valuable as it enables the cancer to be detected in its earliest stages.
Risk Factors Associated With Prostate Cancer
- Age – risk for all cancers increases as we get older. This reflects the fact that DNA mutations accumulate over time and some of these may become cancerous. As for prostate cancer specifically, the risk of men developing it increases after 50, with two-thirds of all cases being diagnosed in men over 65.
- Race – while all men are at risk of the disease, for reasons not fully determined, black men are at higher risk of prostate cancer.
- Family history – a family history of prostate cancer or breast may indicate a hereditary genetic mutation for both. Gene mutations known to cause prostate cancer include BRCA1, BRCA2, and HOXB13.
- Obesity – considered the second biggest preventable cause of cancer. This is largely due to visceral fat influencing hormone levels such as oestrogen and insulin which in turn influence cancer risk. Inflammation caused by obesity is also a factor. Studies demonstrate that regular exercise lowers your risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Smoking – the biggest preventable cause of cancer – 15% of cancers are caused smoking. Tobacco smoke contains various chemicals that are damaging to DNA. A study published in the Journal of the Medical Association suggests that men with prostate cancer who were current smokers had a 61% increased risk of dying from prostate cancer than men who never smoked. The study is explained in detail by Harvard Health blog.
Living a healthy lifestyle certainly reduces your overall risk of developing cancer, however other factors like age, genetics and race are out of our control so we should do what we can to catch cancer early and stop it in its tracks. While we recommend booking an Echelon Health Assessment regardless of these risk factors, you should definitely consider a cancer screening in London for a prostate cancer diagnosis if you fall into any of the risk categories listed.
Where to get a Prostate Cancer Test in London
The best and most accurate means of detecting prostate cancer is two-fold; a PSA blood test combined with an advanced prostate MRI scan, both of which are included in Echelon Health’s Gold, Platinum and Evergreen assessments.
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen which is a protein produced by normal cells and cancer cells in the prostate. It is normal for men to have low levels of PSA in the blood and the amount rises as you get older. A high level of PSA is a red flag for an issue with the prostate, but not necessarily cancer. A prostate MRI will help confirm whether the abnormality is cancer.
A prostate MRI is a painless and non-invasive method of imaging the prostate and our advanced 3T MRI scanner offers excellent resolution of the gland allowing radiologists to detect the smallest of cancers.
Along with your prostate cancer test in London you will undergo several other state-of-the-art scanning techniques, blood tests for over 40 parameters and in-depth consultation with leading consultants. In fact, a Platinum Health Assessment detects for up to 92% of those diseases that lead to premature death in men and 96% in women, according to our independently-verified analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics.
Should anything worrisome be detected during your Health Assessment, including prostate cancer, you will benefit from our ‘little black book’ of specialist consultants based in and around London. We will happily arrange rapid referral to a specialist to discuss treatment with you further, or if you prefer we will refer you to the NHS.
To find out more about the diseases we detect and the scans used to detect them, take a look at the Body Map.
For a prostate cancer test in London visit Echelon Health. Prevention is always better than cure. Feel free to contact us today 020 7580 7688 or click the button below and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Prostate Cancer UK – About