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Primary care nurses urged to talk to patients about prostate cancer

Explain risk factors, as the disease is often without symptoms in the early stages, says specialist nurse
Picture shows a medic holding a pad, talking to an older black man. Older men and black men are more at risk of prostate cancer.

Primary care nurses should explain risk factors of prostate cancer to male patients, as the disease is often without symptoms in the early stages, says a specialist nurse

More primary care nurses need to speak to their male patients about risk factors linked to prostate cancer, with diagnoses of the disease rising, a specialist nurse advises.

Prostate Cancer UK head of clinical services Laura James said such conversations are important, as prostate cancer now the most diagnosed cancer in the UK is often without symptoms in the early stage.

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Primary care nurses should explain risk factors of prostate cancer to male patients, as the disease is often without symptoms in the early stages, says a specialist nurse

Picture shows a medic holding a pad, talking to an older black man. Older men and black men are more at risk of prostate cancer.
Picture: iStock

More primary care nurses need to speak to their male patients about risk factors linked to prostate cancer, with diagnoses of the disease rising, a specialist nurse advises.

Prostate Cancer UK head of clinical services Laura James said such conversations are important, as prostate cancer – now the most diagnosed cancer in the UK – is often without symptoms in the early stage.

New diagnoses of prostate cancer in the UK totalled 57,192 in 2018, compared with 57,153 for breast cancer, according to an analysis by the charity.

Ms James told Nursing Standard: ‘When prostate cancer is in its early stages, often men do not have symptoms, which is why it is important for nurses to have conversations with patients about risk factors.’

Three main risk factors of which nurses should be aware

She said there are three main risk factors that nurses, particularly those in primary care, should be aware of, with the cancer more commonly affecting:

  • Those aged between 65 and 69.
  • Black men.
  • Men with a family history of the disease.

Ms James has called for funding and research into a new screening tool to identify prostate cancer, as the current prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test is seen as not reliable enough in accurately spotting the disease.

She welcomed the rise in diagnoses, saying it is good because it means awareness of this type of cancer is increasing, with celebrities such as journalist Bill Turnbull and actor Stephen Fry talking about their experience of having it.

According to Prostate Cancer UK, prostate cancer diagnoses have more than doubled over the past 20 years. There are now around 400,000 men in the UK living with the disease or in recovery from it.

Find out more

Prostate Cancer UK


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