What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It develops when cells in the prostate begin to grow abnormally and form a tumour.

Most prostate cancers grow slowly, but some can grow and spread quickly, so it’s important to be aware of symptoms and get any changes checked as soon as possible. Prostate cancer is highly treatable, particularly when diagnosed at an early stage.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

Knowing the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer makes it easier to spot any changes and have them checked. It may not be anything serious, but finding cancer early makes it easier to treat. The most common symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Rushing to the loo and needing to urinate more often at night 
  • Difficulty starting to urinate 
  • Taking a long time to urinate or a weak flow of urine
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
If you have any of these symptoms, speak to your GP.

Risk factors of prostate cancer

Your individual risk of developing prostate cancer depends on multiple factors including your age, genetics and ethnicity. As is the case with many cancer types, prostate cancer incidence increases with age, mostly affecting men over the age of 50. It is possible to develop prostate cancer at a younger age but the risk is lower.

Prostate cancer can also run in families, this is known as an inherited or hereditary risk. Certain ethnicities are also at an increased risk, with black African and Caribbean men being two to three times more likely than white men to develop prostate cancer.

If you are over the age of 50 you may want to speak to your GP or a Consultant specialist about your prostate health and the checks that can be done for prostate cancer. If you have a family history or are a black man over the age of 45 you may want to speak to your GP or a Consultant specialist about your risk of developing prostate cancer.

The 10 most commonly asked questions about prostate cancer

One in eight men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. Here, Niaz Khan, GP at Roodlane Medical, part of HCA Healthcare UK, answers the top 10 questions he gets asked by patients about prostate cancer, including questions about risk factors, symptoms and the impact treatment can have. 


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Our cancer care network is based in London and Manchester, where patients can expect the very best diagnostic tests, treatment, aftercare and support.

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