Although prostate cancer affects older men, it is not uncommon to find younger men with this disease especially with a strong family history. It is the most common cancer in men in the UK. Over 40,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.
Most prostate cancers are incidentally diagnosed but some men can experience urinary symptoms. PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is an important screening blood test selectively used to screen men with suspected prostate cancer. An assessment of the prostate through a rectal examination by a urologist gives an estimate about the size of the prostate as well as the texture of the prostate gland which might prompt further tests such as MRI scan and biopsies of the prostate to rule out cancer.
Watch and Wait or Surveillance
For some men, they may be advised to simply watch their symptoms and if they get worse, seek treatment. This is because it may not affect their life expectancy and if the symptoms are not particularly painful or difficult to live with, it may be better to avoid treatment. Furthermore, if a man is not in good health, this may be the best approach.
There may be some men who undergo surveillance, which is regular PSA tests and scans to ensure that any developments in the cancer are discovered as soon as possible. Where it does get worse, they will then need to progress to another treatment option.
Complete removal of the prostate gland or radical prostatectomy is usually done for prostate cancer as a curative treatment. For more information on how this is carried out, please see our dedicated page for prostatectomy.
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
A telescope is passed down the urethra to cut away prostate tissue causing an obstruction to the urinary flow with an electric loop. It can relieve pressure from the urethra and treats symptoms associated with urination, but it will not cure the cancer.
SpaceOAR is an absorbable hydrogel used to reduce rectal side effects following radiotherapy in prostate cancer patients. The hdyrogel or prerectal spacer not only reduces the rectal toxicity but also helps to reduce urinary toxicity and sexual dysfunction after radiotherapy.
The spacer is inserted under a short general anaesthetic through the perineum in between the rectum and the prostate. The recovery period is 24-48 hours. The procedure has got minimal after-effects. Occasionally the patient can experience rectal fullness, urinary burning, perineal bruising and very rarely retention.