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Planning Retirement Online

Assistance in identifying prostate cancer

With over 10,000 deaths a year from prostate cancer in the UK, a great deal of work is being undertaken to find out more about the causes and also improved ways to treat the disease.

One of the problems of prostate cancer is that it is variable and unpredictable. For some men it is slow growing and causes few problems; in other men it spreads quickly with devastating results.

Now scientists have found a set of 13 specific gene defects that appear to indicate men who are most at risk of developing the cancer.

The results have come from a combined study carried out by researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in London in collaboration with researchers from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London  and also the University of Cambridge.

The research studied blood samples from 191 men who not only were suffering from prostate cancer but who also had at least three relatives who also had the disease.

Fourteen of the group were found to have mutations in their DNA that completely stopped a gene from working.  All in all, the scientists identified 13 different mutations in eight genes in the men, greatly increasing their odds of developing advances prostate cancer.

The hope is that for the first time there maybe a chance of screening men to identify those with a predisposition to aggressive and potentially deadly cancer tumours. The scientists say this could herald a revolution in diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

At the moment, treatment depends on whether the cancer is contained within the prostate gland or has spread to just outside the prostate or to other parts of the body. 
However, depending on the spread of the cancer, there are a great range of treatments now available. These include radiotherapy, seed brachytherapy,, hormone therapy, high intensity focused ultrasound, cryotherapy using freezing techniques, chemotherapy and a radical prostatectomy when the prostate is removed.
The main early symptom is changes in urinating - often having to urinate more frequently, especially during the night; and having difficulty in starting to urinate.  As will all physical changes, if you have any concern at all, visit your GP.


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