What is prostate cancer and how is it diagnosed?

Prostate cancer is the UK’s most common male cancer, with one in eight men diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. However as Ben tells Anna, the fact the condition can often be symptomless only highlights the importance of males getting their prostate checked. Fortunately, in recent years the growing awareness surrounding prostate cancer and other problems such as infections and enlarged prostate has led to a surge in men being screened. 

This is in no small part thanks to the likes of Stephen Fry, who was publicly vocal about having his prostate removed in 2018 – with the operation carried out by none other than Ben Challacombe, from The Prostate Centre, himself.

Listen now to Probing the Prostate: 

Episode 15 - Probing the Prostate 

In episode 15 of the ‘Health Fact vs Fiction’ podcast, Anna Richardson talks in-depth about prostate cancer and related health issues with consultant urological surgeon Mr Ben Challacombe from The Prostate Centre, part of HCA Healthcare UK.

Listen now

Things we learn in this prostate podcast episode

Prostate cancer is the UK’s most common male cancer, with one in eight men diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. In this episode, Consultant Urological Surgeon Mr Ben Challacombe from The Prostate Centre, part of HCA Healthcare UK, tells Anna Richardson everything we need to know about the prostate, including infection and enlargement and how to watch for warning signs of cancer.

Prostate cancer Fact

Prostate cancer can have no symptoms. Ben tells Anna about how even significant prostate cancer can be symptom-less, highlighting the importance of getting checked.

Prostate cancer Fiction

All men have the same chance of developing prostate cancer. Ben explains that while all men can get prostate cancer, genetics and crucially ethnicity play a huge part in the risk of developing the disease.

Prostate genetics Fiction

Breast cancer and prostate cancer are not linked. In fact, your chance of developing prostate cancer will be increased if breast cancer runs in your family. Ben tells Anna that both cancers can have shared genetic causes.

Enlarged prostate Fact

Your prostate grows as you get older. What’s more, Ben says an enlarged prostate is common and is often not a symptom for cancer.

Prostate referral Fact

Ben operated on Stephen Fry to remove his prostate cancer in 2018. The two of them have now jointly written a paper describing what the procedure is like on both sides of the scalpel. Stephen’s story, along with that of presenter Bill Turnbull, led to a surge in prostate referrals across the country.     

What to do next?

Mr Ben Challacombe

Mr Ben Challacombe is a Consultant Urological Surgeon at The Prostate Centre, the London Bridge Hospital and The Princess Grace Hospital, all part of HCA Healthcare UK. Ben has a special interest in the minimally invasive treatments of prostatic diseases.  He is the urological cancer and clinical robotics lead for Guy’s & St Thomas’, a UK robotic surgery mentor and robotic fellowship director. 
Ben trained at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, The Royal Marsden Hospital and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he was awarded the prestigious Rowan Nicks Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.  Ben is currently the Oncology Section Chairman of the British Association of Urology (BAUS), and in 2019 will be awarded the BAUS Golden Cystoscope for contributions to British urology within 10 years of consultant appointment.
Ben has performed over 1000 robotic radical prostatectomies, over 1100 robotic upper tract procedures, and in 2002 performed the first randomised trial of telerobotics between Guy’s and Johns Hopkins Hospitals.  Ben also performs holmium laser prostatectomies with an experience of over 900 cases.  His current research interests are in robotic surgery training, trans-perineal template biopsy techniques, active surveillance of low risk prostate cancer, sentinel node techniques and haptic probe development in robotic surgery. 

Ben is the Associate Editor of the British Journal of Urology (BJUI), with over 230 peer-reviewed publications, 3 books, and 25 book chapters on minimally invasive and robotic urological techniques.  Alongside this, Ben is a Trustee of The Urology Foundation Charity for whom he regularly lectures.

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