Talking (and reading) about cancer can be difficult, but did you know that one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their life?

It’s the most common cancer in men, but some most men don’t have any symptoms at all.

So it's important to know what factors place you at an increased risk and to be aware of symptoms so you can seek advice.

The prostate is a gland, approximately the size and shape of a walnut which grows bigger as you get older.

It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body.

Prostate cancer is not always life-threatening but when it is, the earlier you catch it, the more likely it is to be cured.

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Signs and symptoms

Prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause any symptoms until it has grown enough to put pressure on the urethra.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

Needing to urinate more often

Blood in your urine

A feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied

These symptoms do not mean that you have prostate cancer. It is common for prostate glands to grow larger the older men get because of a non-cancerous condition called benign prostate enlargement.

However, these symptoms should not be ignored, and it’s important to seek help by contacting your GP for advice and support. They are available and want to hear from you.

Risk factors

The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older and most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.

For reasons not yet understood, prostate cancer is more common in black men and less common in Asian men.

And if your father or brother has been affected by prostate cancer, you are also at a slightly increased risk.

Recent research also suggests that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle and looking after yourself is key.

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Health and wellbeing

About 38% of all types of cancer are potentially preventable - 15% are caused by smoking and 6% by being overweight.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but other cancers too.

Here are some things you might want to think about to improve your general health and wellbeing:

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Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They contain vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your overall health. No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer.

Try to move most days of the week. Exercise improves your overall health, helps maintain your weight and improves your mood. Try to exercise most days of the week, whether that’s a short walk or something more adventurous.

Quit smoking and limit alcohol. Quitting smoking can improve your health in many ways, including lowering your cancer risk. And if you drink, do so in moderation.

Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer. If you have a higher risk of prostate cancer, you and your doctor may consider medications or other treatments to reduce the risk.

Talking about worrying symptoms can be hard, but it’s best to point it out and book an appointment with your GP to rule out anything serious.

Eastern Daily Press: Dr Suzanne PhillipsDr Suzanne Phillips (Image: Contributed)

Find out more

Read more about prostate cancer at

Find out about cancer services in Norfolk and Waveney at

Get help to quit smoking, by visiting Smokefree Norfolk at

For support around alcohol, reach out to Change Grow Live at

Dr Suzanne Phillips is clinical lead for the Cancer Transformation Programme, NHS Norfolk and Waveney.