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August 29, 2022 2 min read

Not only can prostate problems be debilitating, but they can also be deadly.  In New Zealand Prostate Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and also the third most common cause of cancer related deaths. The statistics are alarmingly high, with around 1 in 10 New Zealand men developing some form of prostate cancer during their life.

The good news is that like many forms of cancer, prevention can be a powerful tool. When found early, the chances of successful treatment are much higher. For this reason, it’s essential to educate both men and women on the warning signs.  So, what should you or your partner be looking out for?


The Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

The first signs of trouble usually come in the form of trouble passing urine. Getting the flow started is a common issue, as is stopping the flow and experiencing uncontrollable dribbling. Look for a weak stream, as well as an unintentional “stop and start” pattern.

The urge to suddenly dash to the bathroom to pass urine is another tell-tale sign. Like a urinary tract infection, you might find that despite a pressing bladder you’re only able to pass a few small streams at a time. As a result, you may find yourself getting up several times throughout the night for bathroom trips.  

Sometimes, cancer cells can spread from the prostate gland and infiltrate other areas of the body, which can cause further tumor growth. The pelvis lymph nodes and spinal bones can be common targets and can induce lower back pain.

Age goes hand in hand with the need for increased diligence when it comes to recognising the warning signs. 80% of prostate cancer diagnoses are for men aged 60 years or more, which means older gents have a much higher risk factor.


BPH - The Most Common Prostate Problem

Despite the high level or Prostate Cancer detected in New Zealand, in nine out of ten cases men with prostate problems will be suffering from a prostate that’s simply grown too big for its boots. This is known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH - basically an enlarged prostate that puts pressure on the urethra which can block the flow of urine and affect sexual function. It’s not cancerous but does mean that there’s been an overgrowth of tissue. More than half of all gents aged 50 or over tend to experience BPH, though the good news is that medicines and surgery are often an effective form of treatment.


Of course, if you’re concerned or simply want to discuss the signs and symptoms nothing trumps a good old-fashioned consultation with your GP. Don’t be shy, prostate problems are NOT a taboo subject. There are several ways to detect problems, including a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and biopsy.