Urgent warning as 'common symptoms' of deadly cancer are misleading, doctors say | The Sun

COMMON symptoms of a deadly cancer could be misleading and are hampering early diagnosis, experts have warned.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and around 47,500 men are diagnosed with it in the UK each year.

Most of the time, it won't have any symptoms – but medics have previously listed urinary problems as a sign.

But scientists have now argued that a focus on this is 'misleading'.

Researchers at Cambridge University found there is "no evidence of a causal link between prostate cancer and either prostate size or troublesome male urinary symptoms".

They stated that public health guidance promotes this link – with the increased need to pee being on the list of signs given by the NHS.

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Guidance lists this as the top symptom, followed by needing to rush to the toilet, difficulty starting to pee or straining and taking a long time to pee.

Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, the experts argue that a strong public perception of the symptoms could be stopping prevention.

They added: "If rates of earlier diagnosis are to improve, we call for strong clear messaging that prostate cancer is a silent disease especially in the curable stages and men should come forward for testing regardless of whether or not they have symptoms,” the paper says.

“This should be done in parallel with other ongoing efforts to raise awareness including targeting men at highest risk due to racial ancestry or family history.”

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The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland, that only men have.

It sits around the urethra – the tube a man pees and ejaculates from – between the penis and the bladder.

The main point of the prostate is to produce the fluid which mixes with sperm to create semen – making it pretty vital for reproduction.

But, like all organs in the body, it can be invaded by cancer – when cells in the gland start to grow uncontrollably.

The reason there is a link to urinary issues is because some men suffer with prostate enlargement.

What causes prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is very common, and the causes are largely unknown.

Most cases occur in men aged 50 or over, while prostate cancer is more common in men of African or Caribbean descent, and less common in Asian guys.

There's also a familial link, so having a dad or brother who had prostate cancer increases your risk.

Recent research suggests obesity increases your risk of prostate cancer while exercising regularly lowers it.

A high-calcium diet is also thought to increase your risk while eating cooked tomatoes and Brazil nuts could lower it, but more research is needed into the effect of diet.

And research conducted in Australia suggests drinking just two pints of beer a day increases man's risk by a QUARTER.

This can cause urinary issues but the experts said that this is rarely due to malignant prostate tumours.

In the case of prostate cancer, the medics say the gland is actually smaller.

Vincent Gnanapragasam, professor of Urology at Cambridge University explained: "When most people think of the symptoms of prostate cancer, they think of problems with peeing or needing to pee more frequently, particularly during the night.

“This misperception has lasted for decades, despite very little evidence, and it’s potentially preventing us picking up cases at an early stage.”

“We urgently need to recognise that the information currently given to the public risks giving men a false sense of security if they don’t have any urinary symptoms".

He added that emphasis needs to be placed on the fact that the illness can be silent or asymptomatic.

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“Waiting out for urinary symptoms may mean missing opportunities to catch the disease when it’s treatable.

“Men shouldn’t be afraid to speak to their GP about getting tested, and about the value of a PSA test, especially if they have a history of prostate cancer in their family or have other risk factors such as being of black or mixed black ethnicity," he added.

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