Introduction

taken from Small Gland, Big Problem 4th Edition
by Professor Roger Kirby, Health Press 2011

At the beginning of the 20th century, the average life expectancy for a man in Europe or the USA was a mere 49 years. As diseases of the prostate typically affect men beyond middle age, the likelihood of a man in the early 1900s suffering from one of these conditions was rather slim. Nowadays, however, life expectancy for men extends well into the 70s, and this increased longevity has been accompanied by a rising tide of prostate disease. Over the next 20 years, life expectancy is predicted to rise still further, to 80 and beyond. What we are witnessing at the moment is, then, simply the tip of the iceberg. The number of men with a prostate problem is set to more than double by the year 2020.

Recently there has been a surge in public interest in the prostate, largely as the result of a spate of media attention. Scarcely a week goes by without a newspaper or television feature on this aspect of men’s health. Prominent personalities, including Bob Monkhouse, Sir Harry Secombe and the former England rugby union star Andy Ripley, have also spoken openly about their prostate problems before, sadly, passing away as a result of the disease.

This increasing focus can only be good news, as men with prostate disease can increase their chance of cure with a little knowledge and timely action. Men, and their partners and family who love and support them, need to be aware of the symptoms and signs of prostate problems, and the possibilities of a simple examination and a blood and/or urine test. The fourth edition of this book contains the essence of the things that you and those closest to you need to know to respond appropriately to the threat of these widespread and troublesome diseases. Use this information to obtain the best treatment for you – you owe it to yourself and to those who are dear to you.