P is for prostate conditions

prostate check

Every June, the focus is on men’s health, and this year’s campaign was on P for Prostate, emphasising the importance of men sharing their stories. When King Charles gave his health update earlier this year, the NHS website’s ‘enlarged prostate’ page received 16,140 visits compared to 1,141 visits the previous day. Prostate Cancer UK had almost double the number of users for its online risk checker.

The Men’s Health Forum has been working hard to shed light on three common conditions affecting men: prostate enlargement, prostatitis, and prostate cancer. The symptoms of these three conditions can be very similar, so seeking medical advice and organising a prostate check as soon as possible is critical.

Prostate enlargement

This is a widespread condition, typically associated with ageing, as research suggests more than one in three men over the age of 50 will have some symptoms related to prostate enlargement. Symptoms include changes to urination patterns, such as needing to pee more frequently or suddenly.

It isn’t caused by cancer, and the medical term is benign prostatic enlargement (BPE). Another term is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which means an increase in the number of cells, causing the prostate to become enlarged.


Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland, another non-cancerous condition affecting the prostate. It can develop in men of all ages. There are four main types:

  • chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)
  • acute bacterial prostatitis
  • chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis

CPPS is the most common type of prostatitis – around 19 out of every 20 men with prostatitis have it. The definitive cause is unknown as it’s not caused by a bacterial infection unlike the other forms of prostatitis. Potential causes include urine getting into the prostate or problems with the pelvic floor muscles, and it might also be linked to other conditions such as IBS. As a result, it can be challenging to diagnose and treat.

Prostate cancer

Here in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men, with approximately 30,000 new diagnoses a year. Risk factors are age, family history and also ethnicity, with black men much more likely to get prostate cancer.

There’s no single, definitive test for prostate cancer. Your GP may examine your prostate by performing a digital rectal examination, taking a urine sample to check for infection, and testing for prostate-specific antigen, known as a PSA test. An MRI scan of the prostate may then be carried out and a biopsy performed if a problem is discovered.

Until now, there has been no national screening programme for prostate cancer, but Prostate Cancer UK has launched a ‘ground-breaking’ trial known as Transform, which will compare the efficacy of various screening methods.

Previous trials found that PSA tests and biopsies to screen for the disease prevented between 8% and 20% of deaths, depending on screening regularity. Prostate Cancer UK hopes that Transform has the potential to reduce deaths by 40%.

The first phase will involve about 12,500 men and will compare current NHS diagnostic methods with PSA tests, genetic testing and a faster version of the MRI scan – known as a Prostagram – against

The second stage, involving up to 300,000 men, will focus on the most promising methods discovered in stage one. Initial results are expected in three years.

To arrange your prostate check, call +44 (0)20 4580 1152 or email [email protected] to organise a consultation.