Busting the myths for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

27 March 2019 . United Kingdom

To help raise awareness this Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Dr Arun Thiyagarajan, Medical Director, Bupa Health Clinics, reveals the truth behind the five biggest myths related to prostate cancer.

Male doctor with patient

Myth #1: I don’t have any symptoms, so I can’t have prostate cancer

Prostate cancer often takes hold before any symptoms begin to surface. For many, the early noticeable symptoms include pain or subtle differences in urination, but this can be mild and get progressively worse over several years. Other symptoms can include pain in bones across your hips and back. The key is to have regular health checks even if you aren’t necessarily experiencing symptoms, or if symptoms are mild. This will give you peace of mind or if necessary ensure you can access treatment as early as possible, which is crucial to better outcomes.

Myth #2: I’m not old, so I don’t need to worry about it

While prostate cancer is more common in those over 50-years-old you should remember that diagnosis can occur at an earlier age. Don’t feel you are immune to it or that it’s something you don’t need to worry about because you’re under the age of 50 – be proactive about your health and get regular health checks.

Myth #3: Prostate cancer is hereditary, so if nobody in my family has had it, I’m safe

Unfortunately, while family history of prostate cancer means it’s more likely for you to develop the disease, this doesn’t mean you’re immune to it if your brother, father or any other male in the family has never had it. One in seven men in the UK today will develop prostate cancer, making it incredibly common and therefore it isn’t as simple as putting it down to family history.

Myth #4: My GP has recommended a PSA test, so they think I have cancer

This isn’t true. PSA tests measure the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the prostate. It is not a specific test for cancer, meaning you shouldn’t be overly concerned should you be referred for a test by your GP. The PSA test does however make cancer detection in its early stages possible, which is very important. Some people think PSA tests are bad for you, too, which isn’t true. It’s a simple blood test which doesn’t pose any actual danger to your health.

Myth #5: I won’t be able to live well after prostate cancer diagnosis

Prostate cancer affects more men in the UK than any other cancer, with 130 men diagnosed each day. But with quick diagnosis, intervention and tailored treatment, there is a very good chance of beating it. Thankfully, prostate cancer survival in the UK has tripled in the last 40 years, while 84% of men survive prostate cancer for 10 or more years after diagnosis. The important thing is to seek regular health checks and advice from clinical experts who can diagnose any issues as early as possible, giving you a much better chance of living life to the fullest and hopefully beating the disease after diagnosis.

In response to an increased number of bookings in male health assessments, in October 2018 Bupa Health Clinics launched its 30-minute Male Health Check, specifically designed to provide men with fast access to assessment and advice for prostate and testicular cancer.

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for the major part of our business with 15.7m customers and contributes over 70% of revenue. We operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets, with 15m customers. We care for around 23,000 residents in our UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain aged care businesses.

We directly employ around 80,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Turkey, the US, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.