This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

A new way to tackle prostate cancer

Written by: | Published:

Prostate cancer is an umbrella term Prostate cancer is an umbrella term

Men don’t like to talk about prostate cancer, which is a shame because a lot of us are going to get it. Ask a man to locate his gland and he will struggle, although he will be aware that diagnosis will involve a digital rectal examination (DRE). And to paraphrase the hip-hop classic, most men would rather forget about DRE.

In reality prostate cancer is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases. But you can break them down into two: wolves and dogs. A wolf cancer is the sort that killed my uncle: it quickly metastizised and spread through his body in a little more than six months. A dog cancer on the other hand grows slowly and coexists with its host. It’s said that 80% of men over 80 have some sign of the disease. But the crucial thing is that they are more likely to die with it, than of it.

All of which makes a new study by Oxford University intriguing reading. It followed prostate cancer patients for 10 years and found no difference in survival rates between those who opted to have their cancer treated aggressively with surgery and radiotherapy (often with unpleasant side effects), and those who opted for active surveillance, where the progress of the cancer was merely monitored. Anywhere science can replace the scalpel is welcome, but early detection is still key. And that begins with a conversation in practice, that many patients will struggle to initiate. In this battle the nurse’s ability to break the ice trumps the skill of the surgeon.

Mike Shallcross, acting editor, Independent Nurse

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.