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Prostate cancer: Dr Hilary outlines signs and symptoms

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A two-time cancer survivor, Ernie Hudson got rid of cancerous tumours in the prostate and renal area – something that is possible when the disease is caught early. “When I heard the word cancer it was one of the most devastating moments in my life,” Ernie reflected. “But we caught it early, why do they put erythromycin in baby’s eyes ” he told Fox59. “Getting tested for cancer saved my life.”

Prostate cancer

There is currently no screening programme in the UK for prostate cancer.

Thus, in order to maximise the chances of living longer, you need to know what the symptoms are.

The NHS lists the possible symptoms of prostate cancer as follows:

  • Needing to pee more frequently, often during the night
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
  • Straining or taking a long time while peeing
  • Weak flow
  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
  • Blood in urine or blood in semen.

These symptoms could be indicative of a common, non-cancerous condition called an enlarged prostate.

HAIR loss has many causes, some of which intersect. An article published in the journal Nature highlights the impact an unhealthy lifestyle can have on hair shedding.

Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness

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The causes of hair loss are manifold: it can have genetic, psychological and lifestyle origins. In regards to the latter, a high-fat diet has been shown to trigger the mechanisms that underpin hair loss. The finding was published in the journal Nature.

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Although overweight people have a higher risk of androgenic alopecia, whether obesity accelerates hair thinning, how and the molecular mechanisms have been largely unknown.

To plug this gap in knowledge, researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) used mouse model experiments to examine how a high-fat diet or genetically induced obesity can affect hair thinning and loss.

The authors found that a high-fat diet and obesity can lead to depletion of hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) through the induction of certain inflammatory signals, blocking hair follicle regeneration and ultimately resulting in loss of hair follicles.

Normally, HFSCs self-renew every hair follicle cycle. This is part of the process that allows our hair to continuously grow back.

However, as there is a chance it could be cancer, it’s best to see your doctor if you have any of the warning signs.

“There’s no single, definitive test for prostate cancer,” the NHS notes.

As part of the diagnostic toolkit, testing might involve a urine and blood sample, in addition to a rectal examination.

If caught early, the prognosis can look very good, especially as medical staff can keep an eye on the condition.

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As for rectal cancer, which Ernie also survived, symptoms may include:

  • Blood in your pee – you may notice your pee is darker than usual or reddish in colour
  • A persistent pain in your lower back or side, just below your ribs
  • A lump or swelling in your side (although kidney cancer is often too small to feel)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss
  • Persistent high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • A high temperature
  • Night sweats
  • In men, swelling of the veins in the testicles
  • Swollen glands in your neck
  • Bone pain
  • Coughing up blood.

Renal cancer, also known as kidney cancer, is often curable if found early.

“But a cure will probably not be possible if it’s diagnosed after it has spread beyond the kidney,” the NHS notes.

This, again, reinforces the key messaging that an early diagnosis saves lives.

In addition to blood and urine samples, testing for kidney cancer may include scans and a biopsy.

If cancer is found, further testing will inform medics (and yourself) what stage of kidney cancer you have.

Knowing how big the tumour is, and whether it has spread or not, is critical in determining which treatments to do.

Treatment options may include surgery and ablation therapies, where the cancer cells are destroyed by freezing or heating them.

Then there’s biological therapies that help the cancer to stop growing or spreading.

And then there’s embolisation, which cuts off the blood supply to the cancer.

Radiotherapy is another option, which is where high-energy radiation targets cancer cells and relieves symptoms.

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