• Wellbeing
  • Workplace Wellbeing

Understanding Prostate Cancer: A Conversation with Bupa

  • By: paralleladmin
  • Posted on: 5th June 2024

Alison Brown,
Health and Wellbeing Specialist

Prostate cancer remains one of the most significant health challenges faced by men today. Despite its prevalence, there is still a lack of understanding and awareness surrounding this condition and the importance of early detection. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with experts at Bupa to delve deeper into what prostate cancer is, the current screening programmes available for men, and how we can better support those at risk.

In our insightful conversation, we discussed the options for men on early detection and screening techniques, the importance of regular check-ups, and the role of lifestyle choices in mitigating risk.

This blog post aims to share the valuable information and practical advice I gathered, hoping to shed light on this critical issue and encourage proactive health measures among men.  

About the prostate

The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and gets bigger as you get older. It sits underneath your bladder and surrounds your urethra, which is the tube you pee through. It produces the fluid that makes up part of your semen.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the UK, and most common in men over 65. Most at risk are those with a family history, of ethnic minority or have high fat content in their diet.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer usually has no symptoms in its early stages. If the cancer grows, it may cause problems when you pee, including:

  • needing to go more often
  • needing to go more urgently
  • having a weak stream
  • finding it difficult to start peeing
  • dribbling after you finish peeing
  • getting up at night to pee

But these symptoms are more likely to be caused by an enlarged prostate. This can happen when your prostate gland gets bigger as you get older. It is called ‘benign prostatic hyperplasia’ and is common in older men. It is not cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your GP.

Diagnosis of prostate cancer

If you have symptoms, your GP will ask about them and examine you. They may also ask you to have the following tests.

  • A PSA test. This is a blood test to measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
  • A digital rectal examination (DRE).

Seeing a specialist

Depending on your test results, your GP may refer you to a specialist. This is likely to be a urologist who is a specialist in treating prostate conditions. For more information on this next step visit here

Can I just ask for a PSA test?

Prostate checks are generally available from your GP if you are over the age of 50 even if no symptoms are present but there is some caution around PSA tests, so ask your GP to talk through the benefits and risks associated with these checks.

PSA is a protein that’s produced by your prostate gland. If you have a prostate gland, it’s normal to have a small amount of PSA in your blood. Your PSA level rises as you get older, and your prostate gets bigger.

If you have prostate cancer, this can raise the level of PSA in your blood. A PSA test can detect this. But it’s important to bear in mind that a raised PSA level can be caused by something other than cancer. There are some much less serious causes of raised PSA. For more information on this click here

How can I make my prostate healthy?

There’s are some things you can’t change, such as your age. And as you get older, you are more likely to get an enlarged prostate, especially after the age of 50. Other things that you can’t change include your family history and ethnicity. Your risk of prostate cancer also increases with age. But, here are four things you can do to help keep your prostate healthy.

  1. Eat healthy – not only good for your overall health but a diet low in fat can help reduce the enlargement of your prostate.
  2. Reduce alcohol intake – it is not clearly known if drinking increases the risk of prostate cancer, but, heavy drinking, especially binge drinking, has been associated with increased prostate cancer risk.
  3. Stop smoking – smoking can put you at risk of aggressive prostate cancer which means it’s more likely to spread.
  4. Exercise regularly – to help you maintain a healthy weight, and can be very good for your prostate health

Although this is not something that is available to all, in 2022 Bupa launched specialist centres in London and Manchester where men can then get all initial diagnostic tests and the all-clear in one place, in one day. If it is cancer, customers will receive treatment within 31 days of contacting Bupa, which is twice as fast as the national standard.

Early detection remains a cornerstone in the fight against prostate cancer, significantly improving outcomes and providing men with the best chance for successful treatment.

At Parallel Employee Benefits, we are committed to promoting health and wellbeing among our team and clients. By staying informed, encouraging regular screenings, and adopting healthy lifestyle choices, we can make a substantial difference in the lives of those at risk.

For more information on how we can support you with your staff Health & Wellbeing benefits contact malcolm.lyons@parallel-eb.co.uk // 020 8874 1230