Prostate cancer occurs when cancerous cells divide and multiply in the prostate – a small walnut-shaped gland in males. As is the case with all cancers, success of treatment interventions hinges on when the cancer is picked up. Unfortunately, prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years.
Nonetheless, if you have symptoms that could be caused by prostate cancer you should visit a GP, advises the health body.
“There’s no single, definitive test for prostate cancer. The GP will discuss the pros and cons of the various tests with you to try to avoid unnecessary anxiety,” it adds.
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.
Your risk of developing it depends on many things but having a risk factor doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop prostate cancer.
One risk factor you cannot modify is age – prostate cancer is more common in aged 75 to 79 years, warns Cancer Research UK.
Other non-modifiable risk factors include ethnicity – the cancer is more common in black-African men – and family history and genes, says the charity.
There are also a number of lifestyle factors that may raise your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of advanced prostate cancer.
Researchers have found a link between being obese or overweight and cancers being higher grade (faster growing).
Obese means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. And being overweight means having a BMI of between 25 and 30.
Try to keep a healthy weight by being physically active and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Emphasising the importance of exercise, there is some evidence that being active might help to lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.