Men's health * 50+ health

Andrew Lloyd Webber has prostate cancer

Zone default image Early warning signs you should know

Andrew Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. A spokesman for the 61 year old composer said the condition was in its "early stages." Lord Lloyd Webber is now undergoing treatment for the disease.

What is prostate cancer?

Cancer of the prostate gland is the most common male cancer in the UK. The prostate is a small gland which is situated between the penis and the bladder and is involved in semen production.

Prostate cancer is responsible for 25% of all newly diagnosed male cancer cases. Each year 35,000 men are diagnosed with the condition, and over 9,000 die of it.

Unlike many cancers, prostate cancer is usually slow growing, and can take up to 15 years to spread from the prostate to other parts of the body. If caught in its early stages it can be treated and cured. Lord Lloyd Webber's spokesman said the composer expected to be "fully back at work before the end of the year."

Although one in twelve men will develop the condition in their lifetime, 60% don't know the early symptoms of prostate cancer. As the cancer is more common in older men, many put the early signs of prostate cancer down to ageing.

Early warning signs

One of the problems with prostate cancer is that in its early stages it often does not cause any obvious symptoms. When they do occur they may include any of the following:

  • Needing to rush to the loo to pee.
  • Passing urine more often, daytime and/or night-time
  • Slow at getting the flow or urine started
  • Weaker flow of urine
  • Starting and stopping whilst passing urine
  • Discomfort (pain or burning) whilst peeing
  • Feeling of not having emptied the bladder fully
  • Dribbling after you've finished peeing
  • Blood in urine or semen (less common)
  • Pain or stiffness in the back, hips or pelvis

Many of these symptoms can be due to just simple enlargement of the prostate, which occurs as men get older. This is not cancer and is called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) - 'benign' meaning non-cancerous, 'prostatic' meaning relating to the prostate, and 'hypertrophy' just means enlargement.

If you're a man over the age of 40 with any of the above symptoms, don't put it down to just getting older - tell your GP!

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This article was published on Mon 26 October 2009

Image © Andrey Ushakov -

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