Geoffrey Hughes Rest In Peace.

Depending on your age, you would know Geoffrey Hughes as the dodgy scouse Jack the lad Twiggy in the Royle family, stripping the wall paper with Jim as they danced to Mambo number 5

Or Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances or Scouse Binman and former jailbird Eddie Yates on Corrie. To me, he was always Eddie Yeats.

Geoffrey died over the weekend after a long and courageous battle with prostate cancer. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

In parliament, I have worked with the Prostate Cancer UK for a number of years, most recently on the campaign to get Arbiraterone available on the NHS.

Only men have a prostate gland and therefore at risk to being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The prostate is usually the size and shape of a walnut. It lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the tube (the urethra) that men pass urine and semen through.

Prostate cancer normally causes no symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra. This normally results in problems associated with urination. Symptoms can include:

• needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
• needing to rush to the toilet
• difficulty in starting to urinate or pee (hesitancy)
• straining or taking a long time while urinating
• weak flow
• feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored and it’s important to get them checked out by your doctor, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer. Many men's prostrates get larger as they get older due to a non-cancerous condition known as benign prostatic hypoplasia or prostate enlargement.

Symptoms that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles, and unexplained weight loss.

Over 37,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK. It is the most common cancer in men over the age of 55 years, it accounts for 25% of all newly diagnosed cases of cancer in men, and an estimated 1 in 14 men will develop the condition.

The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 70 or older. For reasons that are not understood, prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent, and less common in men of Asian descent.

Here is a short video explaining the risk of prostate cancer for African-Carribean men

The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. However, research has shown that having a brother or father with prostate cancer increases your risk by approximately two times compared to men with no family history of the disease. If a close member of your family was diagnosed with prostate cancer under the age of 60, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition.

The risk of prostate cancer increases slightly in men who have a strong family history of female breast cancer and vice versa.

It has long been suspected that the western diet, high in saturated fats and red meat, may lead to an increased risk of developing cancer including prostate cancer. Research has shown however that there are several foodstuffs and dietary changes that appear to reduce prostate activity.

“Eating the right diet can cut your risk of cancer by up to 40%”-

There is growing evidence that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a number of diseases including prostate cancer

The outlook for prostate cancer is generally good. This is because, unlike many other cancers, prostate cancer usually progresses very slowly. A man can live for decades without having any symptoms or needing any treatment. Many men die with prostate cancer, rather than as a result of it.

Prostate cancer can usually be cured if it is treated in its early stages. Treatments include removing the prostate, hormone therapy and radiotherapy (using radiation to kill the cancerous cells).

If the cancer spreads from the prostate to other parts of the body (metastasis), typically the bones, it cannot be cured and treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms. Approximately 10,000 men die from prostate cancer every year in the UK.

All the treatment options carry the risk of significant side effects, including loss of sexual desire (libido), the inability to maintain or obtain an erection (sexual dysfunction) and urinary incontinence. For this reason, many men choose to delay treatment until there is a significant risk that the cancer
might spread.

Your GP can help you understand more about prostate cancer and if you are at risk.

More information about prostate cancer can be found here:

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