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Prostate cancer

Has been a lot about this in the news and it seems a bit of a lottery as to whether it gets picked up.

Does anyone on here have any experience of the screening process. It seems like something that all men should be checked for at a certain age but does any effective screening process exist?
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  • Has been a lot about this in the news and it seems a bit of a lottery as to whether it gets picked up.

    Does anyone on here have any experience of the screening process. It seems like something that all men should be checked for at a certain age but does any effective screening process exist?

    Don't take this the wrong way because no offence is intended.

    However you mention on the diet thread that you work or have worked on a vascular ward so you are probably better placed than most of us on here to find out the answer to your question.
  • LenGlover said:

    Has been a lot about this in the news and it seems a bit of a lottery as to whether it gets picked up.

    Does anyone on here have any experience of the screening process. It seems like something that all men should be checked for at a certain age but does any effective screening process exist?

    Don't take this the wrong way because no offence is intended.

    However you mention on the diet thread that you work or have worked on a vascular ward so you are probably better placed than most of us on here to find out the answer to your question.
    Prostate cancer is not something I've worked with - the whole screening process seems to be hit and miss and I'm just interested to know if anyone has had any experience of it or worked in that area. Health promotion and screening are key in this area.

    I've worked in occupational therapy on ortho and vascular wards and done a lot of rehab work in those areas.







  • It is very hit and miss>
    There is a PSA blood test which is simple enough, which measures the protein in the prostate, which indicates if is larger than it should be . This doesn't mean cancer but it is quite likely, and if it is high they will do other tests which are very intrusive, so as to confirm it.
    They could blood test every male over 50, but as it doesn't definitely mean cancer, a lot of males could undergo the other tests, which would cost the NHS a fortune. For example, a regular cyclist would probably show up as an enlarged prostate but that may be normal !!
    The main reason its a killer, is because there is not always any symptoms until it spreads ( normally into your bones or bladder ) and then your in trouble .
    The advice given is to ask for a regular PSA blood test from your GP if your over 45 and go from there.

    I would recommend that advice ,but its not something men do , as the sound of the rubber gloves going on is very scary.
  • I opened this thread because I thought it might open up a dialogue and it does concern me that it often fails to get detected. I do think women are far more proactive when it comes to looking after their health.

    As Swisdom says
    'Cancer is a cunt'.....

    Given the scale of prostate cancer cases we need as a country to deal with it more effectively.
  • edited March 6
    Our very own @LouisMend is raising money for Prostate cancer as we speak (Little plug for him)
  • I believe a few years ago the Government were going to launch a new male screening programme along the lines that women do for breast cancer, ie all males over the age of 45 to get a regular check-up. I'm now 51 & been to my GP many times recently & he's never mentioned it once.

    Prostate cancer had been on the radar of insurance companies for a good 15 years - I've sold plenty of critical illness policies from 2000 and regularly had updates from their reps talking about cancer rates in males & females and how much on the Gleeson scale you have to score to be diagnosed with prostate cancer & the companies pay-out records for such.
  • I believe a few years ago the Government were going to launch a new male screening programme along the lines that women do for breast cancer, ie all males over the age of 45 to get a regular check-up. I'm now 51 & been to my GP many times recently & he's never mentioned it once.

    Prostate cancer had been on the radar of insurance companies for a good 15 years - I've sold plenty of critical illness policies from 2000 and regularly had updates from their reps talking about cancer rates in males & females and how much on the Gleeson scale you have to score to be diagnosed with prostate cancer & the companies pay-out records for such.

    I have read several articles that question how effective screening is. I would have thought given the number of cases that the NHS would be doing more.

    It does appear that too many men are dying from this condition.
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  • I have had prostate cancer and as a result had the prostate removed by surgery carried out by a robot called the Da Vinci machine - I hasten to say operated by a professor in cancer surgery at Cambridge University. Far more accurate than traditional surgery where you have a high chance of erectile dysfunction and incontinence following the operation.
    I was fortunate to fully recover on all fronts and was back at work in 4 weeks - apart from always having to visit the gents at half-time as a precaution I'm fine! That all happened about 12 years ago and I have been checked every year since.
    My cancer was discovered as part of a NHS/University study when my PSA was a little higher that expected and on two subsequent monthly checks had gone up. I then had biopsies - not a pleasant experience! And they found a cancerous tumour which fortunately had not burst out of the prostate and spread to joint, bones etc and that is when it is a killer. As others have said PSA is not fool-proof and only an indicator - research is going on to find more accurate alternatives. I had no other indicators of a potential cancer.
    Disadvantages of a radical prostatectomy? You can't father any more children - not a problem at my age! Nerves can still get damaged even by robotic surgery causing ED. You can take a while to gain full bladder control because the prostate also acts as a valve. Other than all that!! At least you've got the little cancerous bugger out of your system.
    The big problem is finding a reliable test and at the moment getting your GP to carry out regular PSA checks.
    Hope the saga above is helpful to somebody!

    Glad to hear your treatment went so well. Must have been tough to deal with?
  • I have the PSA test included in my annual check up too (but not in the UK of course). I understand it is not totally reliable, however I suppose that if you get it every year, any movement in the result would be an early warning signal. I don't think it is expensive, I'd insist on it if I were in the UK. My experience is that the NHS is behind on precautionary screening. I've had a colonoscopy more times than I've seen Charlton demolish anyone in the last ten years, purely on the basis of family history. Seems over there you need to be assertive, which is crazy as the earlier they catch cancer, the less it costs the NHS to treat it.
  • I have had prostate cancer and as a result had the prostate removed by surgery carried out by a robot called the Da Vinci machine - I hasten to say operated by a professor in cancer surgery at Cambridge University. Far more accurate than traditional surgery where you have a high chance of erectile dysfunction and incontinence following the operation.
    I was fortunate to fully recover on all fronts and was back at work in 4 weeks - apart from always having to visit the gents at half-time as a precaution I'm fine! That all happened about 12 years ago and I have been checked every year since.
    My cancer was discovered as part of a NHS/University study when my PSA was a little higher that expected and on two subsequent monthly checks had gone up. I then had biopsies - not a pleasant experience! And they found a cancerous tumour which fortunately had not burst out of the prostate and spread to joint, bones etc and that is when it is a killer. As others have said PSA is not fool-proof and only an indicator - research is going on to find more accurate alternatives. I had no other indicators of a potential cancer.
    Disadvantages of a radical prostatectomy? You can't father any more children - not a problem at my age! Nerves can still get damaged even by robotic surgery causing ED. You can take a while to gain full bladder control because the prostate also acts as a valve. Other than all that!! At least you've got the little cancerous bugger out of your system.
    The big problem is finding a reliable test and at the moment getting your GP to carry out regular PSA checks.
    Hope the saga above is helpful to somebody!

    Very helpful. Thanks for sharing

  • I have the PSA test included in my annual check up too (but not in the UK of course). I understand it is not totally reliable, however I suppose that if you get it every year, any movement in the result would be an early warning signal. I don't think it is expensive, I'd insist on it if I were in the UK. My experience is that the NHS is behind on precautionary screening. I've had a colonoscopy more times than I've seen Charlton demolish anyone in the last ten years, purely on the basis of family history. Seems over there you need to be assertive, which is crazy as the earlier they catch cancer, the less it costs the NHS to treat it.

    What you say is blindingly obvious but it doesn't really happen. Prevention is better than treatment - we need to change our healthcare model.
  • edited March 6
    2 pals of mine have now had the robot surgery resulting from PSA test that saw their count up to 15. One had PSA test the year before and his doctor wasn't too concerned on next check up and wasn't going to test if it wasn't for my friend's insistence. As said, this returned at 15, biopsy and Cat scan followed, then within a few weeks operated on.
    As everyone has advised. Get it checked out regularly. And also if you have any indication especially if your water works are not 100% functional.
  • PeterGage said:

    I also have had Prostate Cancer and am happy to share my experiences with you.

    My experience started 5 years ago at an age of 66. My weeing pattern changed in that when I peed last thing at night, I got an urge to go again within 5 minutes. Went to my doc, had a PSA check to discover my PSA levels were raised to fifteen, which is beyond the aged-related measure of, in my case, eight. First, I was given some tablets to see if the PSA level could be reduced, but that didn't work. The next step was an internal examination by my GP (would you believe a Charlton supporter, living like me, in a small rural town in |North Bucks!). Apparently, the prostrate is smooth in nature and any cancer may be identified by an outer "roughness" on the prostrate. He wasn't sure, so I was referred to the local hospital for a biopsy. The process is a painless snip of 10 pieces of the prostrate for laboratory examination. In my case 4 of the pieces were found to be cancerous.

    The next step was a CT scan to determine if the cancer had spread beyond the prostrate; in my case the answer was negative. As others have said, prostrate cancer in its self is not a killer; it only becomes so when it spreads to the bones or other vital organs.

    I was given a choice of (a) having the prostrate removed by surgery, (b) implanting into my prostrate some radiotheraphy "seeds" that would slowly be released to attack the cancer or (3) external radiotheraphy. Each carried there own range of side effects, which could be temporary of permanent. I chose option three.

    I was given a seven week course (Mon-Fri) of radiotheraphy. It is at this point when you start to bond with other people with the same complaint and can share experiences. It was at this point that I learnt more about my personal score of "fifteen", I had not previously know how high of low the range of PSA levels could be. I soon learnt that by comparison with other patients, mine was relatively low, other patients recording a "score" in the forties. Indeed, I have since learnt of some people having theirs measured in the hundreds.

    There was no pain whatsoever with the treatment.

    At the end of the treatment a further scan was undertaken, as was another PSA test. Both results were positive for me. I suffered with a couple of temporary side effects such as a loss of bladder control and tiredness; the latter was expected. The only long term side effect is that I can know longer produce any sperm at intercourse, but other wise all the other feelings/experiences associated with intercourse remain to be enjoyed.

    so, on to today. I have a PSA test every 6 months. My PSA measure reduced from eight to zero point one after the treatment and has risen extremely slowly to a level which is still below one (eight being the level for a 60+ year old male).

    To answer a question posed by other contributors on here; there is no standard universal monitoring system be cause the costs of screening every male over a certain age is considered to be unacceptably expensive, in a time when, as we know, NHS budgets are tight. It is down to differing medical centres to manage their budgets and make that call.

    I do consider myself somewhat lucky in that sometimes there are no symptoms associated with Prostrate Cancer in the early stages. Secondly, I did not bury my heads in the sand but conversely, sought a medical opinion as soon as my peeing circumstance changed. Even changing peeing frequency is not necessarily cancer related; apparently, prostrates do grow larger with age, and they can therefore press upon the bladder to cause more frequent urges to pee.

    The one lesson that I did learn was that early detection leads to a positive outcome. Guys, if you are unsure, seek medical advice.

    Thanks for sharing this.
    glad you survived ok, I have just finished 8 weeks radiotheraphy and I see the consultant again next month. I have been told that I will have to stay on Hormone treatment for 3 years , to make sure it doesn't come back.
    I don't fancy three more years of being a eunuch , my original count was 35 , but last time it was taken, it was down to 1.5 .
    Were you ever on hormones ?
  • PeterGage said:

    I also have had Prostate Cancer and am happy to share my experiences with you.

    My experience started 5 years ago at an age of 66. My weeing pattern changed in that when I peed last thing at night, I got an urge to go again within 5 minutes. Went to my doc, had a PSA check to discover my PSA levels were raised to fifteen, which is beyond the aged-related measure of, in my case, eight. First, I was given some tablets to see if the PSA level could be reduced, but that didn't work. The next step was an internal examination by my GP (would you believe a Charlton supporter, living like me, in a small rural town in |North Bucks!). Apparently, the prostrate is smooth in nature and any cancer may be identified by an outer "roughness" on the prostrate. He wasn't sure, so I was referred to the local hospital for a biopsy. The process is a painless snip of 10 pieces of the prostrate for laboratory examination. In my case 4 of the pieces were found to be cancerous.

    The next step was a CT scan to determine if the cancer had spread beyond the prostrate; in my case the answer was negative. As others have said, prostrate cancer in its self is not a killer; it only becomes so when it spreads to the bones or other vital organs.

    I was given a choice of (a) having the prostrate removed by surgery, (b) implanting into my prostrate some radiotheraphy "seeds" that would slowly be released to attack the cancer or (3) external radiotheraphy. Each carried there own range of side effects, which could be temporary of permanent. I chose option three.

    I was given a seven week course (Mon-Fri) of radiotheraphy. It is at this point when you start to bond with other people with the same complaint and can share experiences. It was at this point that I learnt more about my personal score of "fifteen", I had not previously know how high of low the range of PSA levels could be. I soon learnt that by comparison with other patients, mine was relatively low, other patients recording a "score" in the forties. Indeed, I have since learnt of some people having theirs measured in the hundreds.

    There was no pain whatsoever with the treatment.

    At the end of the treatment a further scan was undertaken, as was another PSA test. Both results were positive for me. I suffered with a couple of temporary side effects such as a loss of bladder control and tiredness; the latter was expected. The only long term side effect is that I can know longer produce any sperm at intercourse, but other wise all the other feelings/experiences associated with intercourse remain to be enjoyed.

    so, on to today. I have a PSA test every 6 months. My PSA measure reduced from eight to zero point one after the treatment and has risen extremely slowly to a level which is still below one (eight being the level for a 60+ year old male).

    To answer a question posed by other contributors on here; there is no standard universal monitoring system be cause the costs of screening every male over a certain age is considered to be unacceptably expensive, in a time when, as we know, NHS budgets are tight. It is down to differing medical centres to manage their budgets and make that call.

    I do consider myself somewhat lucky in that sometimes there are no symptoms associated with Prostrate Cancer in the early stages. Secondly, I did not bury my heads in the sand but conversely, sought a medical opinion as soon as my peeing circumstance changed. Even changing peeing frequency is not necessarily cancer related; apparently, prostrates do grow larger with age, and they can therefore press upon the bladder to cause more frequent urges to pee.

    The one lesson that I did learn was that early detection leads to a positive outcome. Guys, if you are unsure, seek medical advice.

    Thanks for sharing this.
    glad you survived ok, I have just finished 8 weeks radiotheraphy and I see the consultant again next month. I have been told that I will have to stay on Hormone treatment for 3 years , to make sure it doesn't come back.
    I don't fancy three more years of being a eunuch , my original count was 35 , but last time it was taken, it was down to 1.5 .
    Were you ever on hormones ?
    Yes, I had female homone treatment for, as I recall, a 2 week period apparently Cancer feeds off of male hormones, hence the treatnent. It did kill off any sexual urges for some weeks.

    I hope your treatment goes OK.
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  • I’d recommend anyone over 50 getting tested for this annually and get regular colonoscopies. Men aren’t encouraged enough to do this, but these find a lot of treatable cancers before they develop to far.

    I’ve had two friends die because they were to proud to have someone stick a camera where the sun don’t shine. By the time their cancers were discovered, they were untreatable.
  • Mine was discovered early through the high level of PSA in my blood. Sent for a check, using the camera, found enlarged prostate. Then hospital where they took 12 samples from the prostate, these were found positive for cancer. Solution was total prostectomy - they took it out. Since then PSA levels dropped from 12000 to 0.02. Luckily cancer was contained in the prostate and did not spread. If I had not had the blood test would have never known as no symptoms at all.

    My advice, following on from many above is get yourself checked before it could be too late.
  • edited March 7
    Is the blood test for someone when you turn 50 , or anytime?
  • I asked my GP for a PSA test and he talked me out of it. Said just as likely to give a false positive and result in unnecessary invasive procedures. Must say I find the range of conflicting medical views confusing.
  • edited March 7
    Screening for Prostate cancer by a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is at best not a reliable indicator of prostate disease. It’s why it’s not part of the National screening programme.

    As men get older. Typically post 50 it’s very common for the prostate gland to enlarge. This enlargement is usually benign and called Prostatic hyperplasia. As the gland sits at the neck of the bladder this enlargement can cause urinary flow issues. The amount of PSA found in the bloodstream is a direct correlation between the size of the gland so just having a raised PSA level is not an necessarily an indicator of malignancy. (Cancer)

    Any form of urinary problems should be investigated. A gold standard way of examining the prostate is per rectum. ( insert your own jokes here). A normal healthy gland should feel smooth and about the consistency of the tip of your nose. A gland that is harder with a “walnut” texture should be treated with suspicion and investigated further.

    Ca Prostate is an insidious disease because it often presents late. Us blokes generally need to pee more frequently as we get older due to a hardening of the urinary bladder making it less elastic so the symptoms of possible Prostate cancer creep up on us.

    I would recommend all men over 55 speak with their GP. The gloved finger is a small price to pay for early diagnosis.
  • I have my yearly medical on Friday and the gloved finger prostrate prod awaits - it has to be done. Also due for another colonoscopy this year - not a whole lot of fun but again it’s better to be safe tha.n sorry.
  • edited March 7

    I asked my GP for a PSA test and he talked me out of it. Said just as likely to give a false positive and result in unnecessary invasive procedures. Must say I find the range of conflicting medical views confusing.

    My father has been suffering with prostate cancer for the last 7 years. At times it was looking decidedly dodgy but the brilliant NHS has kept him going with a reasonable quality of life far longer than initially expected.

    On the flip side I had a discussion with my own GP when visiting about another matter. I asked whether due to my age and family history of I should/could have a PSA test. We had a chat about possible symptoms before she suggested I didn't need one. I'm in total awe of the medical profession I admit but I sort of regret now not insisting on one, even as setting as baseline for the future.

    I'm not doubting her judgement per se but I suspect my mind would have been put at ease and I'm certainly thinking about asking again.
  • edited March 7

    I asked my GP for a PSA test and he talked me out of it. Said just as likely to give a false positive and result in unnecessary invasive procedures. Must say I find the range of conflicting medical views confusing.

    My father has been suffering with prostate cancer for the last 7 years. At times it was looking decidedly dodgy but the brilliant NHS has kept him going with a reasonable quality of life far longer than initially expected.

    On the flip side I had a discussion with my own GP when visiting about another matter. I asked whether due to my age and family history of I should/could have a PSA test. We had a chat about possible symptoms before she suggested I didn't need one. I'm in total awe of the medical profession I admit but I sort of regret now not insisting on one, even as setting as baseline for the future.

    I'm not doubting her judgement per second but I suspect my mind would have been put at ease and I'm certainly thinking about asking again.
    I’d seriously doubt that your GP would be pressured into giving a PSA test without grounds for doing so. Read my post above.

    Phone up a private hospital. You can pay for one if you feel that strongly about it but it’s not an indicator of Malignancy.

  • stevec said:

    Mine was discovered early through the high level of PSA in my blood. Sent for a check, using the camera, found enlarged prostate. Then hospital where they took 12 samples from the prostate, these were found positive for cancer. Solution was total prostectomy - they took it out. Since then PSA levels dropped from 12000 to 0.02. Luckily cancer was contained in the prostate and did not spread. If I had not had the blood test would have never known as no symptoms at all.

    My advice, following on from many above is get yourself checked before it could be too late.

    This pretty much sums up Mr F's experience although his high level of PSA was only found when we moved here & he was sent a letter offering a health check from our new GP. No symptoms to have alerted him otherwise.

    Even then, I had to persuade him to accept the offer of an appt but so glad I nagged....

    Still having some incontinence probs but as he says, it's a small price to pay.

    He was 70 at the time of his op with no previous family history.
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