Prostate cancer: Swelling in three parts may signal a tumour has spread ‘beyond the gland’

Prostate cancer: Prost8 charity discusses current treatment

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Prostate cancer has consistently ranked among the deadliest cancers, alongside cancer of the lung, breast, colon, and pancreas. Caught early, however, 95 percent of cases are survivable. Once a tumour has spread beyond the gland it can be more difficult to contain, lessening the chances of curative treatment. At this stage, swelling may be apparent in four parts of the body.

According to the Moffitt Cancer Centre, some of the potential warning signs of cancer include a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, difficulty stopping or starting urination, sudden erectile dysfunction and blood in the urine or semen.

The health body adds: “Other possible early signs of prostate cancer include unusually weak urine flow and unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting.

“If cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, men may experience swelling in the lower body, back, hip or bone pain, abnormal bowel or urinary habits or unexplained weight loss.”

Swelling is typically caused by cancer cells that prevent lymph fluid from draining away from the body.

According to Cancer Research UK, this leads to a type of swelling known as lymphedema, which may occur in different parts of the body.

The health body states that over 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and there are more than 12,000 deaths related to the disease.

It develops when damaged cells in the prostate acquire the ability to multiply sporadically.

It should be noted that in many cases, this process does not necessarily produce symptoms in patients.

In fact, researchers at the University of Cambridge, recently warned that waiting for symptoms to emerge before attending screening services could be damaging to health.

Professor Gnanapragasam, Professor of Urology at the University of Cambridge, explained: “When most people think of the symptoms of prostate cancer, they think of problems with peeing or needing to pee more frequently, particularly during the night.

“This misperception has lasted for decades, despite very little evidence, and it’s potentially preventing us from picking up cases at an early stage.”

Organisations, however, continue to promote a link between urinary symptoms and prostate cancer despite there being a severe lack of evidence, according to the expert.

This could lead men with the early stages of prostate cancer to miss vital opportunities to have their cancer detected.

Professor Ganapragasam added: “We urgently need to recognise that the information currently given to the public risks giving men a false sense of security if they don’t have any urinary symptoms.

“We need to emphasise that prostate cancer can be a silent or asymptomatic disease, particularly in its curable stages.

“Waiting out for urinary symptoms may mean missing the opportunity to catch the disease when it’s treatable.

“Men shouldn’t be afraid to speak to their GP about getting tested, and about the value of a PSA test, especially if they have a history of prostate cancer in their family or have other risk factors such as being of Black or mixed Black ethnicity.

“We’re calling on organisations such as the NHS, as well as patients charities and the media, to review the current public messaging.”

Despite having a high mortality rate, prostate cancer is becoming increasingly survivable owing to advancements in treatment, which include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

These treatments, however, are more effective in the initial stages of the disease, so any unusual bodily changes should not be ignored.

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