Prostate cancer facts

Written by: Mr John Hines
Published: | Updated: 08/12/2023
Edited by: Jay Staniland

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the UK, and the fourth most common cause of cancer death. This means that many people who are diagnosed with prostate cancer go on to live a long time, with eighty-four per cent of diagnosed patients going on to live for 10 years or more. 


We invited esteemed consultant urological surgeon Mr John Hines to share his expert insight on the symptoms of prostate cancer and the associated risk factors to be aware of.

Man with prostate cancer symptoms


What is the prostate gland?

The prostate gland is a gland that only men have, and is usually the size and shape of a walnut. It surrounds the neck of the bladder and is used to create and release a fluid component of semen. The prostate often enlarges as you get older, but this doesn’t usually cause any problems.


There are a number of conditions that can affect the prostate, including:


What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

All conditions associated with the prostate gland carry many of the same symptoms, including:

  • A frequent need to urinate
  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Having to strain to urinate
  • Pain during sex or when urinating

These symptoms can be a sign of a problem with the prostate, as the increased size can cause problems with the flow of urine.

Early detection of prostate cancer can drastically improve the chances of survival. If you are experiencing any of these problems, you should always contact your GP, or make an appointment with a consultant urologist.



Is prostate cancer on the increase?

The number of new cases of prostate cancer is gradually increasing, with over 130 cases diagnosed every day, making up thirteen per cent of diagnoses of all types of cancer.

4 in 10 of these cases in the UK are diagnosed at a late stage, meaning there is less that can be done to control or remove the cancer. There are 31 deaths attributed to prostate cancer per day. This figure is expected to rise by twelve per cent in the next 20 years, and around 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

The good news is that mortality rates from prostate cancer are expected to fall by sixteen per cent over the next 20 years as more people become aware of the symptoms, and detection at an early stage increases.



What are the risk factors of developing prostate cancer?

The risk of developing cancer can depend on many things, age, genetics and lifestyle choices are all factors that can have an effect on the chances of developing cancer.


However, there have been no clear links found between preventable risk factors and prostate cancer. Evidence is unclear of links between environmental factors/lifestyle factors and a higher prostate cancer risk. The same can be said about a link between consuming certain foods and a lower prostate risk, as evidence is unclear and is still being studied to understand better.

Although there is little understanding of the causes of prostate cancer, there are certain links that are known to increase the risk of developing the condition.

  • Age: The risk of developing prostate cancer increases as you age, with over fifty-four per cent of cases of prostate cancer found in men aged 70 and over.
  • Ethnicity: for unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean and African descent, with this ethnicity featuring the highest incidence rate. The least common is in Asian men.
  • Family history: if someone in your family has developed prostate cancer before the age of 60, there is a slightly increased risk of developing it. Some research also suggests that if you have a family member that developed breast cancer, your chances of developing prostate cancer can be slightly increased.
  • Exercise: Men who take part in regular exercise are believed to have a slightly decreased risk.



If you'd like to schedule a consultation with Mr Hines to discuss your concerns about prostate cancer, you can do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr John Hines

Mr John Hines is a leading consultant urological surgeon, based in London and Buckhurst Hill, who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, bladder cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia and urinary tract infections. In addition to urology conditions, he is also an expert in male and female urodynamics and the urological aspects of gynaecological cancer. Mr Hines currently sees patients at Cleveland Clinic London and at Nuffield Health’s The Holly Private Hospital, where he has practised since 1995.

Mr Hines qualified from Liverpool University in 1985. He completed his surgery and urology training in Liverpool, Birmingham and London and was then appointed consultant urologist at The Holly Private Hospital. In 1999, Mr Hines extended his clinical practice to Whipps Cross Hospital and later on, to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and to University College London Hospitals as well. He was named urology cancer pathway director for North East London, North Central London and West Essex in 2012 and at present, he is also the clinical lead for central London’s urology expert reference group and the urology pelvic cancer specialist multidisciplinary team.

Further to his quality urology practice, Mr Hines is passionate about medical education, and has held numerous positions within this course of study including as a Royal College of Surgeons surgical tutor and as a member of the Court of Examiners.

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