Prostate cancer symptoms and the PSA test

Prostate cancer symptoms and the PSA test


My name is Shiv Bhanot, I’m a urologist
and I work at King George hospital in East London. The prostate is a gland, which is situated at the junction of the bladder and the tube from
where we pass urine, the urethra. Prostate cancer is like any cancer: uncontrolled growth of cells. Sometimes prostate cancer can cause
symptoms related to urination, going frequently to pass urine. Also sometimes men can have blood in the urine or blood in the semen. The first thing for a man, when they start thinking about prostate cancer, they should make an appointment to see their general practitioner. My name is Patrick Williams, I’m 61 this
year and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When I began to constantly have to keep going
to the loo and I realised this was something more than just my diabetes, I thought probably
best just to go and have a chat with my GP. A common condition, which affects the prostate is benign enlargement of the prostate gland. There may be inflammation in the prostate
which we call prostatitis, which can be bacterial or without bacteria, and the less common condition
which is more worrying for all men is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer happens to be very common. It is, in fact, the commonest cancer in men in the UK. I always assumed that prostate
cancer was for people that were a lot older than me, so it wasn’t something that
I thought that I would succumb to. When it became evident that this is what it was, I kind of was really taken aback. Sometimes the general practitioner may request a blood test, which we call the PSA test. PSA is a blood test, it stands for prostate-specific antigen. Only the prostate gland produces this chemical, which is a protein.
Most men with a prostate gland will produce some PSA, but men with prostate cancer will
have much higher values in their blood. It is a marker to diagnose prostate cancer at
the early stage. Further tests will be requested, which will include ultrasound scans of the abdomen and pelvis. And if there is sufficient suspicion for the urologist, he will arrange for prostatic
biopsies to be performed. If you come from an African-Caribbean background or you have those
genes within your system, you are more likely to be affected by this. As a race, Afro-Caribbean men, and I speak from it because I come from that, because of my
father’s side, right, tend to have this sense of machoism and bravado and think “No, we don’t want to do this.” I would say the moment you cross a certain age, get in there and start checking. The moment that something is not right, get in. Go and test! Don’t live in a shadow, don’t live in darkness. Get out there into the light and
see it.