5 January 2009
Being a male is a health risk and statistics can prove this. Men have a life expectancy of about six years less than their female partners (73.9 years for men and 79.2 years for women). Men seem reluctant to visit the Doctor or seek advice where as women are more likely.
The prostate gland is a small gland about the size of a large walnut weighing about 20g (found only in men). The prostate gland sits below the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounds the upper urethra. Normally referred to as a single gland, it is actually a bundle of glands arranged into three lobes.
The closeness of the prostate gland to the urinary tract means that any problems with the prostate can have side effects on the bladder and the urethra. There are three main problems associated with the prostate gland, these problems are known as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). These problems tend to occur at different stages in a mans life.
Most men will delay seeking treatment / advice for prostate problems due to many reasons, fear, embarrassment, fear of surgery etc. Research has shown that men will delay in seeking treatment by as much as four years citing the reason as acceptance of growing old. It is very important that advice / treatment is sought as soon as possible as other more serious problems may occur as a result of non-treatment.
Prostatitis, an infection of the gland, is most common in the age range 20-40. It affects about 30% of men during this time. Prostatitis is broken down into four main types of infection, Acute Bacterial Prostatitis, Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis, Chronic Non-bacterial Prostatitis and the last Prostatodynia which causes pain and discomfort.
The treatment of Bacterial Prostatitis depends on the bacteria involved, if it can be identified then a simple course of antibiotics can be given. Both partners should be treated simultaneously and sexual contact should be avoided.
BPH can be treated in many ways depending on the symptoms and the man's wishes.
There are two main ways of dealing with BPH using drugs.
Surgical options include removal of all or part of the prostate gland.
The incidence of prostate cancer in the UK is increasing with approximately 15,000 new cases being recorded each year. The annual death rate in the UK is approximately 9,800.
Prostate cancer is sometimes divided into two types: a slow growing but steadily progressing tumour, relatively common in older men; and a much more aggressive form of the disease more commonly suffered by younger men.
Cancer of the prostate gland is rare in men under the age of 45 but as age increases so does the incidence rate. The treatment of prostate cancer depends on two factors, the individual and the extent of the problem. Localised prostate cancer in men under the age of 70 who are in good health can be treated by radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy.
It is important to know before any course of treatment is taken that there is a risk of infertility or impotence. If a man should wish to father another child then a sperm deposit will have to be taken prior to the treatment.
Men's Health Matters: Advice Line: (020) 995 4448.
The CWU Health and Safety & Environment Department has produced a guide of the signs and symptoms of Prostate and Testicular Cancer. Copies of the CWU guide are available from Branch offices or you can view the PDF version
You will need the Adobe Reader to view PDF files, you can download it free.