Are you at risk of Prostate Cancer?

14th, September 2018

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men in the UK. More than 1000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Northern Ireland every year.

Who is at risk?

Men over 50, those with a family history (father or brother) of prostate cancer and African-Caribbean/African descent men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

Are there any symptoms?

The prostate gland naturally enlarges throughout a man’s life. Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to develop in an uncontrolled way.  It is usually very slow growing and may never cause symptoms.  However, some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread.

Early prostate cancer often does not cause any symptoms. The prostate gland wraps around the urethra (the tube used to urinate). Men may notice urinary symptoms if the prostate gland presses on this tube. It is worth noting that benign enlargement can also press on this tube and cause urinary symptoms, however if you notice changes it is best to see further advice.

Urinary symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • A weak urine flow
  • A feeling that you haven’t completely emptied your bladder
  • Difficulty stopping the urine flow or dribbling after you have finished
  • An urgency to pass urine

What tests can be done?

There is no single screening test to diagnose prostate cancer. The main tests that we carry out include:

  • A prostate examination - to check the shape and size of the prostate gland.
  • APSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Blood Test - PSA can be unreliable as it may also be raised for other benign reasons. We also know that some men with prostate cancer have a normal PSA level. Therefore the blood test is best used in combination with assessment of symptoms and prostates examination.

If it is raised we need to refer on for further specialist investigation. 

If you notice any of the changes mentioned above, it does not mean you have prostate cancer but you should make an appointment with a GP to have it checked further.

At Kingsbridge Private Hospital Sligo we provide Prostate Screening for men who are worried about prostate disease, providing fast access to diagnostics tests and results. Click here to find out more.

If you require further information on the available options, please do not hesitate to contact us via our online enquiry form. Alternatively, you can email us at or call us on 071 916 2649

Written by Dr Aileen McPhillips.

Dr Aileen McPhillips is and Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast. She graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 2004. She completed training in General Practice and graduated as a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2009. She enjoys all aspects of General Practice, however she has a special interest in Family Planning and Women’s Health (and has completed further training with Diplomas from the Faculty of Family Planning and Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. 

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