Prostate cancer is not generally well understood, yet each year in the UK over 47,000 men are diagnosed with the disease. In its early stages the cancer can develop quietly without obvious symptoms, and even changes such as difficulty or discomfort in passing water may be wrongly assumed to be simply the ageing process. Although there have been huge advances in the medical care and treatment of prostate cancer there is still no national screening programme, although cancer charities such as PCaSO (Prostate Cancer Support Organisation) and Tackle (National Federation of Prostate Cancer Support Groups) do lobby for national screening. Finding cancer early greatly increases the chance of a cure, whereas late diagnosis can limit the treatment options to containing the growth of the cancer.
The PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test currently serves as the best indicator of prostate problems that
may include cancer, and this booklet describes the PSA process. It also describes the ‘patient pathways’ in dealing with prostate cancer through diagnosis, treatment and dealing with any side effects of treatment. Although some treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy have been used for a long time, diagnosis and treatments for prostate cancer are still being refined and improved. Research continues with emerging new developments through trials that go through several stages and this booklet also mentions some of these.
Although all men are at risk of prostate cancer, a healthy lifestyle including mediterranean diet and physical activity and suitable exercise can help the body’s general resistance to the disease and, where cancer is diagnosed, may also aid in fighting the cancer’s growth.
Much has been written and published on the subject of prostate cancer treatment and prevention. This information booklet is intended as a comprehensive guide, from a patient’s perspective, to most aspects of prostate cancer.
It is hoped it will help you (and your partner, friends or family) understand about prostate cancer and its effects and it may help you when talking to health professionals, such as your GP, hospital consultants and specialist nurses.
It is for any man concerned about a rising PSA, but should be particularly useful for newly diagnosed men, whether they have been diagnosed at an early stage or only caught later when the cancer is more advanced. It can also be useful for more experienced patients, who may be facing some further treatment later in their prostate cancer ‘journey’.
Each reader of this booklet will have a different level of experience and knowledge, thus needing to know different things. If you are new to prostate cancer we suggest you use the detailed Contents List to help you look for what you need to know for your particular circumstances, otherwise you may find you have too much information to absorb in one go. You can always read further sections later.