Cancer is a term that is used for a group of conditions, all of which involve your body’s cells beginning to grow and to reproduce in an uncontrollable manner. These cells might then invade and destroy the healthy parts of your body.

Prostate Cancer

The majority of prostate cancer cases are found in men aged 65 and above. Prostate cancer usually produces no symptoms until the cancerous growth is large enough to place pressure on your urethra. The symptoms at this point are often very similar to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

The symptoms that might indicate the prostate cancer has spread include a loss of appetite, bone and back pain, unexplained weight loss and pain in your testicles.
Unlike many other types of cancer, prostate cancer usually progresses very slowly; however, early detection is still very important.
Often, it can take anything up to 15 years for prostate cancer to spread from your prostate gland to other parts of your body (typically to your bones).

Bowel Cancer

The third most common type of cancer in Britain is bowel cancer, with symptoms including continual/severe stomach pains, blood in your stools, weight loss and unexplained changes in your bowel habits (e.g. a long period of constipation or of diarrhoea). Various factors can increase your risk of bowel cancer and, in order to reduce your risk, you should:

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day
  • Take part in the bowel cancer screening programme when you become eligible
  • Increase your fibre intake
  • Eat five portions of fruit/vegetables per day
  • Reduce your red meat intake
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking

Testicular Cancer

This type of cancer mostly affects younger men between the ages of 20 and 50. The most common symptom being a painless lump/swelling in your testicles. Other possible symptoms might include having a dull ache in your scrotum.
Early detection, as with all cancers, is important, and testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. You can self-examine your testicles monthly by:

    • Completing your self-examination when your scrotum skin is soft (e.g. when lying in a warm bath)
    • Examining your scrotum by feeling for any lumps inside or on the skin itself
    • Gently rolling each testicle between your thumb and your forefinger
    • Remember that one testicle is always bigger than the other one and hangs slightly lower down. This is normal.

If you do have concerns regarding your testicles, then speak to your IPSA pharmacist or IPSA clinician.

Skin Cancer

Both in Britain and worldwide, skin cancer is the most common cancer in white populations. The best way for you to prevent all types of skin cancer is by staying safe when exposed to the sun’s rays:

  • Apply at least an SPF15 sunscreen a minimum of 30 minutes prior to sun exposure
  • Reapply your sunscreen every two hours and after swimming/towelling
  • Stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm or cover up by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, hat and sunglasses
  • Avoid alcohol to prevent dehydration and drink plenty of water
  • Avoid sunbeds and sunlamps (these can actually be more dangerous than sunlight), as they use concentrated UV radiation and this increases your skin cancer risk.