14:17, Mon 3 Dec
PROSTATE CANCER: WHATS MOST IMPORTANT TO KNOW.

Forget the adverts on Sky Sports tell you about dieing. Forget the posters, counting the numbers of deaths, above the urinals at the Blues and remember this: prostate cancer can be cured, treated or managed.

The earlier it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can get timely treatment. What are the symptoms and risks, then?
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
SO WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS?

 difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
 a weak flow when you urinate
 a feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
 dribbling urine after you finish urinating
 needing to urinate more often, especially at night
 a sudden urge to urinate, you may sometimes leak before you get to the toilet

Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than this, because those symptoms, above, fit with benign (non-cancerous) growth of the prostate that many men get as they get older. On their own, these symptoms don’t tell you a lot but you can start, with your GP, to investigate what is actually going on. I’ll write something about tests in a minute.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
WHO MAY HAVE HIGHER RISK OF GETTING PROSTATE CANCER?

Risk is an epidemiological (medical) word which tells you the statistical probability of getting the disease. It does not mean you are going to automatically get cancer. If you have a higher genetic risk it doesn’t mean you will get prostate cancer, it means, statistically, the chances are higher so you need to be more cautious and check things out with your GP.

Higher risk groups are:
-Black men, particularly over the age of 45
-Men over 50
-Men whose Dad or brother had prostate cancer,
-Men whose sister or mother had breast cancer,
-Men who are overweight or obese
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
IS THERE A SCREENING PROCEDURE FOR PROSTATE CANCER?

Nope, there are some tests that help doctors diagnose what you have got but there is, as yet, no screening tool (like there is for cervical cancer, hearing in new born babies and antenatal screening). So, some tests are needed.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
WHAT ARE THE TESTS?
The tests help GPs and other medics to make a diagnosis but there is no one test to diagnose prostate cancer. No one test tells them everything.

DRE (digital rectal examination).

Be cool about this. It’s no big deal and, perhaps, some SHA may enjoy it! The GP puts some lubricant on a gloved finger, while you lie on your side, and uses her finger to feel the prostate gland (on the other side of the wall of your gut). It takes less than a minute and is little hassle at all.
At this point I was told I probably hadn’t got cancer.

PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test.

If your GP thinks your prostate feels unusual he may begin with a test called a PSA. My PSA result was low, 3.19, but other men may have a higher PSA and not need treatment. On it’s own the PSA is just one indicator, not a diagnosis.
At this point I was told I probably hadn’t got cancer.

MRI scan.

This takes 20 minutes, lieing down in a conical shaped scanner, listening to mechanical sounds of the scanner. It’s fine, some people sleep I’m told, but it’s like listening to Kraftwerk, without the melodies. This provides medics about the shape, texture and size of the prostate and, possibly, the cancer.
At this point, when I went for the appointment to find out the result, I was told I probably did have cancer.

Biopsies.

Now this is a more intrusive medical intervention. So, you lie on your side, a lubricated tube is put up your bum, you are given a local anaesthetic injection and then a series of microscopic biopsies are taken from your prostate cancer. It’s like having multiple injections. No fun, but not really painful. This, though, is the crucial test as it allows the cells of the prostate to be analysed and a diagnosis confirmed.
When I found out about these results I was told I definitely did have cancer because the DRE, MRI, PSA and biopsies pointed to the scope of the disease.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
SOCIAL SUPPORT.

I used to read a lot of research about health and one of the things I found is that good quality social support is vital for all of us, especially when dealing with difficult issues like suicide, death, bereavement, dieing, loss and all the rest.

What this means is that you need someone or someones who are prepared to listen to you, prepared to not panic, prepared to stay calm and stick with you during the time you need.

When you get cancer you find out, more than ever, who your friends and family really are. I am very lucky. But, this is crucial, being stoical, being alone and being macho about this stuff is dangerous. It's dangerous because isolation, all the research under the sun shows, is the road to madness.

Now if you have no one you can trust, there are counselling services around to help with this. I have found the prostatecancer.co.uk site to be excellent. Calm, intelligent, knowledgeable people are there to help.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
DEALING WITH COMPLEXITY.

It is all so complicated.

When I first started working in the NHS in the 1980's the line was, to put it crudely: '..you've got cancer, this is the treatment, do you want it?'.

Now, you get so much information and you have to make decisions.

You get the test results, you get a score for the speed of growth for the cancer on average, a score for the fastest cancer cells on average, a score for the location of your cancer in the prostate gland, a score for the lymph nodes (0 for me) and metastases (nowt for me, I am pleased to say).

Then each score and stage of cancer means a different range of treatments or surgery are on offer. And each treatment comes with its own set of side effects or complications.

You are given all this information and asked to make a decision! It's very hard and I know some people would prefer to be told what should be done.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
14:40, Mon 3 Dec
Must have been a worry. All the best.
14:41, Mon 3 Dec
All the best Gramsci 👍
Well done for sharing that
Fat Buddha - 'Rab C Nesbitt. He's a contrary fecker, but invariably right. He has his finger on the motherfecking pulse.'
14:44, Mon 3 Dec
Need to get checked for this and keep putting it off 😁 Certainly in the higher risk group looking at that so cheers.
14:45, Mon 3 Dec
Cool, thanks

If I was a journalist, I would write a blog and get myself on Victoria Derbyshire's show. Weeping, wailing, emoting.

I am on a journey, don't you know. Hysterical, laughing emoji thing.

If not Victoria Derbyshire, then X-Factor, then. To get a lot of public votes you don't need to sing, really, just be on a 'journey'. Watch out for me.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
14:47, Mon 3 Dec
If you live long enough, you will eventually get it. Studies have shown at post mortem that 80% of 80 year olds have it and 100% of 100 had it. I can't be bothered to look up the study and provide the sample size but my Mrs is a radiotherapist and I'm a diagnostic radiographer and the findings of the study don't surprise me.
If anyone has any questions about the treatment side of it I will get the Mrs to comment later.
14:52, Mon 3 Dec
Thanks.

Cancers are degenerative diseases but many of them grow, slowly, in side us and don't cause any problems. So, many people die with cancer and don't actually know they have got it. They have cancer, stay well and die of some other cause.

Prostate cancer is,though, a less aggressive form of cancer than many others and so the prospects for curing or managing it are really good. As 1 in 8 men, generally, and 1 in 4 Black men get prostate cancer during their lifetime they can check it out early.


Check it out but still live your life.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
15:06, Mon 3 Dec
I have just been for a test, I have been up 2 or 3 nights a week for 2 years, I have had tablets to try and make the prostate smaller.
I had test finger in a not so nice place in front of 2 stunning young nurses, but all clear.
I have a thing he called a nervous bladder.
Anyone over age 45 should not worry about the embarrassment and keep getting regular check ups.
I know I will.
My PSA was 1.7
Goodbye says it all.
15:14, Mon 3 Dec
Thanks John.

I think they suggest that if your PSA is over 3 (as mine was), further tests like MRI and biopsies are necessary.
[www.prostatecanceruk.org] is a really useful link.

You can access information, speak to an advisor with expert information or email them. It’s a really good service, I think.
2 different sets of fingers in a week so far and a camera that goes so far up it will tickle your tonsils, by the sounds of it in the next 10 days for me. If a negative result, hopefully they will keep it to themselves till after xmas.
I had that camera, bloody hell what an unusual feeling.
Goodbye says it all.
Yes, had one a while back also, they allowed you too watch it as it was travelling round your bowel, bit like watching Dyno Rod checking out your drains on a screen above ground. Its the pressure of it going up and when they have to take a left or right turn that makes it uncomfortable for me.
17:08, Mon 3 Dec
In 2017 my PSA was over 4, whereupon they saw me as a money-making opportunity. Fortunately I was able to go private and see a urologist.

But it took me a month of fingers/camera/tests to convince them the initial reading might be flawed and 6 months altogether to get the all clear.

I now get biannual PSAs free on NHS as well as an annual medical.

Anyone writing on this thread (I must admit I have speed read in the office) has my sympathy. The disease can be beaten, although I no longer trust single point PSAs and insist on analysing broad trends, as well as getting a gross and not just a net reading.

Strangely it has helped writing about it. Well done for starting this heartfelt thread.
18:39, Mon 3 Dec
All the best Grams, keep positive.