The second meeting of Henley Probus has taken place after the Covid restrictions had been eased. The guest speaker was Dr Steve Allen, on Prostate Cancer. Dr Allen was representing Prostate Cancer UK. Prior to his retirement Dr Allen was a Consultant at the Royal Berkshire hospital.
The talk began with a video which explained what prostate cancer is and what it does to those men who contract it. About one man in eight experience the disease; it largely runs in the family.
Dr Allen contracted prostate cancer (PC) thirteen years ago and regrets taking no action for two years. His advice to others is to act immediately. PC symptoms are similar to those of breast cancer. The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut but it will grow as a man grows older. The disease can be very aggressive. When the gland’s outer shell leaks PC spreads throughout the body, usually the spine.
Signs that the prostate is growing will be that there might be a need to urinate more that hitherto or that it might be difficult to relieve the bladder, at which point it is important to speak to the doctor. At the same time, speak to sons and brothers and encourage them to seek medical advice.
The symptoms do not mean that there is cancer in the prostate but there are tests which can confirm or deny the fact. The blood test is named psa, which means prostate specific antigen. There is no ‘normal’ psa reading.
Dr Allen concluded by repeating the plea that a man with symptoms should speak to his doctor with a view to undertake tests.