Prostate cancer affects over 30,000 men in the UK every year with about 10,000 dying each year of the disease. Prognosis is determined by the stage and the grade of the cancer when it is diagnosed and a cure is only possible when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland.
There is currently no screening programme in the UK for the detection of early prostate cancer and the majority of patients are diagnosed by their GP with a PSA blood test and/or and examination of the prostate. Many men will have problems passing urine as they get older and although the majority of these men will not have prostate cancer, a small number will be diagnosed during one these visits.
The cancer is suspected with a PSA blood test or an abnormal examination of the prostate gland and diagnosed with a biopsy which involves removal of small pieces of the gland for analysis and is usually targeted towards abnormal areas detected on MRI scan. How an individual cancer is treated is dependent upon the grade of the cancer (how aggressive the cancer appears under the microscope) and stage (whether the cancer is confined to the prostate or has spread outside the gland).
Low grade cancers (grade 6) are often simply observed rather than treated especially in the over 65’s as there is now good evidence to show that these patients rarely come to harm from their disease. Higher grade cancers (grade 7-10) are more likely to cause harm and treatment is usually recommended. If the cancer is confined to the prostate then treatment is usually a choice between robotic surgery to remove the gland or radiotherapy. If the cancer cannot be cured due to being diagnosed at a later stage then it can still be treated and controlled for many years although the length of time the treatments are effective varies depending upon the grade of the disease.
Patient information - what to expect
If your GP thinks you need investigating for a raised PSA or an abnormal feeling prostate you will be seen and assessed by a member of Manchester Urology. If there is a suspicion of prostate cancer after this assessment then an MRI scan is usually arranged and a biopsy then follows if there are any suspicious areas on this scan. Manchester Urology have pioneered the targeted trans-perineal biopsy approach after scanning. This is safer and more accurate than the standard trans-rectal biopsy technique. We work closely with radiologists and oncologists (medical cancer specialists) and will ensure you have all the information about your prostate and be given all the treatment options available to you in the event you are diagnosed with a prostate cancer.