My cousin was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 30, which was a total shock to me, not just because it was cancer, but because he was only 30. Prostate cancer usually affects men over the age of 50, and more commonly over the age of 70. Yes, this was very much an anomaly in my cousin’s case, but it really hit home to me that no matter what the statistics say, we cannot afford to be complacent.

For that reason I feel very strongly that we all need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease and communicate with our significant others. This applies to women too because it may be only because of our persistence that our partners ever make it to the doctor!

My cousin was very lucky because he had very obvious symptoms early on, such as pain and difficulty urinating, passing blood while urinating and experiencing pain in his lower back. His cancer was caught early and he was treated very successfully and now lives a healthy and happy life. But the key thing was he immediately went to a doctor and was diagnosed early. When prostate cancer is picked up early, it’s one of the easier cancers to treat.

So what are the key symptoms to look out for? Look out for these things specifically:

  • needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
  • needing to rush to the toilet
  • difficulty in starting to urinate or pee (hesitancy)
  • straining or taking a long time while urinating
  • weak flow
  • feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

What’s even more unusual about my cousin’s case is that he’s not even a prime candidate for prostate cancer based on his age, ethnicity, family history and weight!

According to the latest research these are the factors that would put you at greater risk of this cancer:

  •  Age – the risk rises as you get older, most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.
  •   Ethnic Group – prostate cancer is more common among men of African-Caribbean and African descent, it is relatively rare among men of Asian and South and Central American descent.
  •   Family History – having a close male relative – such as a brother, father or uncle – who has had prostate cancer seems to increase the risk of you developing it. Research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
  •   Obesity – recent research suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.
  •   Exercise – men who regularly exercise have also been found to be at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Diet – research is still ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer but there is evidence that a diet high in calcium increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. In addition, some research has shown that men who eat foods containing certain nutrients including Lycopene, found in tomatoes and other red fruit, and selenium, found in Brazil nuts and lower risk of developing the disease. So please do incorporate these into your diet and keep an eye out for the above symptoms, because while they may not mean you absolutely have prostate cancer, it’s worth seeing your GP and ruling it out, for your own peace of mind if nothing else.