Image credit: Jiyang Chen
Actor Ben Stiller, 50, has this week spoken out about being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 but says he is now cancer-free.
Stiller has said that it was the prostate-specific antigen test - a blood test known as the PSA - that saved his life. He was tested and treated when he was 46. The American Cancer Society, in the USA, recommends that tests start at age 50 for men such as Stiller, who are at average risk of prostate cancer.
What is the PSA test?
The PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood. PSA is made by the prostate gland. The PSA blood level is also increased in other conditions. So having an increased PSA test result does not mean that you have prostate cancer. Experts disagree on how useful the PSA test is. There is a lot of on-going research about PSA.
Who is most commonly affected by prostate cancer?
In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Each year, about 40,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with this cancer type and most cases develop in men over the age of 65. At the moment there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
There may be no symptoms at first, even for years. Symptoms may then develop, affecting the urethra or the flow of urine, and can include one or more of the following:
- Poor stream. The flow of urine is weaker, and it takes longer to empty your bladder.
- Hesitancy. You may have to wait at the toilet for a while before urine starts to flow.
- Dribbling. A bit more urine may trickle out and stain your underpants soon after you finish at the toilet.
- Frequency. You may pass urine more often than normal.
- Urgency. You may have to get to the toilet quickly.
- Poor emptying. You may have a feeling of not quite emptying your bladder.