Prostate Health Advice Hub

Explore our expert-led content if you have concerns around your prostate health and learn about the experiences of others who've been there. 

Know your prostate

What does the prostate do?

The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ which produces prostate fluid, one of the components of semen.

Where is it situated?

The prostate gland sits between the bladder and the penis and just in front of the rectum. The urethra, which drains urine from the bladder, runs through the prostate.

Prostate size changes with age

The prostate gland is generally the size of a walnut, as we get older it increases in size, to about the size of a golf ball in our 50s, a lemon in our 60s and a cricket ball in our 80s. As it grows naturally it can restrict urine flow.

0-50

50-60

60-80

80+

Do I need to worry?

As you get older, your risk of developing prostate health issues increases. This includes cancer. Sometimes issues develop without you even realising. A little bit of knowledge can help you feel in control of your health, rather than ignoring it.

Risk factors for prostate cancer

    Younger than 60
    Black ethnic origin
    Family history of prostate cancer

Modifiable risk factors

    Obese
    Smoker
    Diet rich in red meats/high fat dairy products

Symptoms to get checked out

    Frequent need to urniate
    Difficulty in starting to urinate
    Straining when urinating
    Weak urine flow
    Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
    Blood in urine or in semen

Testing for prostate cancer

There are three initial tests a GP may do to determine your prostate health, but prostate cancer can only be definitively diagnosed with an MRI and a biopsy.

1 Urine sample

A urine sample may be taken to rule out a urinary tract infection as the cause of urinary discomfort.

2 Blood sample

A blood sample may be taken to test the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA levels can be raised for many reasons, but it can also be an indication of cancer.

3 Rectal exam

A finger may be inserted into the rectum to feel for any hardening of the prostate which can be an indication of cancer.

Should I get a PSA test?

The PSA test does not diagnose or detect cancer.  Instead, the test is looking for raised levels of the prostate-specific antigen. Raised PSA levels could indicate benign changes, an infection or possibly cancer. Some 3 out of 4 men with raised PSA do not have cancer.

On the other hand, after 13 years of monitoring results, a European study found randomised prostate screening could cut prostate cancer deaths by up to 21%.

Read more about PSA testing

"I'm glad I expressed my cancer concerns"

When Tom was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 43, his long-felt suspicions had been confirmed. He was the latest in his family to be diagnosed, and the youngest.

Read Tom's prostate cancer story

Treatment options

In many cases men have a few cancer cells but they're not expected to make trouble. In this case you'd be put under ‘active surveillance’. That means you’ll have regular blood tests to check your PSA levels, MRI scans to monitor any growth in the tumour, and biopsies to see if the cancer is spreading within the prostate. In other cases, further treatment may be necessary. This may include; Surgery to remove the prostate gland, Laser therapy, Radiotherapy and Hormone therapy

"I'm not a survivor, I had an issue and I dealt with it."


Read about Greg's treatment experience