Cancer & Prostate Problems



At least one in three men will have cancer diagnosed at some point in their life, with one in four eventually dying from it. While some cancers can be inherited, losing excess weight, eating five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, not smoking, keeping alcohol intake within sensible limits and exercising regularly will help to protect against a number of common cancers.

A good intake of fruit and vegetables is vital - latest research suggests that just eating an extra portion a day can reduce the risk of early death from cancer and heart disease by a fifth.

The prostate is a male gland the size and shape of a large chestnut. It lies just beneath the bladder, and wraps round the tube (urethra) through which urine exits the bladder. After the age of 45, this gland starts to enlarge (known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) due to a general increase in the number of prostate cells present. BPH affects at least 14 per cent of men in their 40s and 40 per cent of men in their 70s, causing symptoms such as:

- Delay or difficulty in starting to pass water
- Straining when passing water
- Weak urinary stream
- Urinary discomfort
- Urgency and urinary frequency
- Waking at night to pass water
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Urinary incontinence
- Sudden inability to pass water
Prostate cancer is the second most common male cancer, but is increasing so rapidly in incidence that it is on target to overtake lung cancer and become the most common male cancer by 2006. Although no symptoms always appear in the early stages, it can cause urinary difficulties similar to those of BPH at a later stage. If you have urinary difficulties, it's important to be assessed by a doctor. Don't let embarrassment put you off!

The views on this page are those of Dr Sarah Brewer with whose permission the information on these health pages has been reproduced. Harvesters accepts no responsibility for any false or inaccurate information contained within these pages.