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The prostate - your chance to learn the facts

21 February 2013


What is small and squishy, about the size of a walnut, sits just above the bladder in front of the rectum and is only found in men?

It is a riddle which surprisingly few chaps can answer - and yet the prostate is the site of the most common cancer in men, with more than 41,000 new cases in the UK every year. Last year, 260 new cases were diagnosed at Southend alone.

Now specialist nurses at Southend University Hospital are hoping to get more men and their partners clued up to the facts of prostate cancer at an awareness evening being held at the hospital on Thursday, March 21.

The event is one of three being staged during prostate cancer awareness month (March) by the Essex Cancer Network specialist nurses, with others taking place in Chelmsford and Colchester.

Ann French, Southend's lead urology oncology clinical nurse specialist, who is helping to organise the evening, said: "It is primarily aimed at men thinking of taking the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and helping them to make an informed decision."

There is no national screening programme for prostate cancer, although men can request the test from their GP. But Ann stressed it is important to know all the pros and cons before going ahead.

She said: "Everyone attending the event next month will receive a comprehensive book about the prostate, the PSA test and the advantages and disadvantages of having it."

Ann and her team will talk about the test as well as risk factors, diagnosis and treatments available. And, of course, there will be a chance to ask questions on the night.

Ann said: "We are very lucky here at Southend. We offer all the treatments available for prostate cancer:

  • Radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland)
  • External beam radiotherapy
  • Prostate brachytherapy
  • High-dose brachytherapy (Southend is the only centre in Essex offering both brachytherapy treatments)
  • Hormone therapy
  • Active surveillance for men with low risk cancer

The awareness evening is taking place from 6pm to 8pm on March 21 in the education centre at the rear of the hospital site. Men of all ages - and their partners - are welcome to attend, but there are spaces for only 50 people which will be allocated to those booking first. Telephone Cathy Miles on 01702 385369 or email Catherine.miles@southend.nhsuk to secure a place. If demand is sufficiently high, other dates may be added.