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King Charles sets a healthy example


The monarch’s openness about his prostate procedure has raised public awareness of the condition.

  • Health
  • Read Time: 5 mins

Duchess reveals cancer battle


The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has also gone public about her health battles.

After undergoing surgery for breast cancer in 2023, she is now being treated for skin cancer.

The Duchess said on social media, “I have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, my second cancer diagnosis within a year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

She continued, “I believe my experience underlines the importance of checking the size, shape, colour and texture, and emergence of new moles that can be a sign of melanoma, and urge anyone who is reading this to be diligent.”

If you display any symptoms of cancer, consult your doctor. 

Further reading: Skin cancer, Breast cancer

Did you know there’s a surgical procedure that can relieve the symptoms of having an enlarged, but not cancerous, prostate?

I didn’t, before I read that the King was scheduled to undergo the procedure.

In my case, the urologist prescribed me a drug he guaranteed would ease the matter by shrinking that little-seen but hugely felt gland that sits just below the bladder but surrounds the tube that drains urine from it. It works, sort of, and most of the time.

And that’s the problem for many older men. Passing urine can become a challenge, causing poor flow or having to pass it urgently.

Multi night-time visits to the toilet disturb sleep patterns, embarrassment is always front of mind, and the condition can lead to urinary tract infections and kidney problems.

“In common with thousands of men each year, the King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. His Majesty’s condition is benign and he will attend hospital … for a corrective procedure,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

And if the King wanted to send a message to men to check their prostate health, then he has been successful. Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that prostate searches on the National Health Service website went up 11-fold after the news broke.

Nearly 80% of men over the age of 70 have an enlarged prostate, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. The condition is also known as benign prostate hypertrophy.

According to the Cancer Council, prostate cancer is diagnosed in around 17,000 Australian men a year and the risk also increases with age. Symptoms include difficulty or pain while urinating.

Treatment options include:

  • Controlling your fluid intake. Avoid alcohol and consuming large amounts of fluids. Use padded underpants or padded inserts.

  • Drugs can take the edge off symptoms and lessen urgency and nightly toilet visits.

  • Surgery is usually advised when symptoms worsen, and lifestyle changes and medication don’t work.

Urology surgeon and Australian National University professor, Henry Woo, told ABC News the procedure is “one of the most commonly performed operations in urology”.

Conventional options include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or laser prostatectomy.

This removes excess prostate tissue to unblock the urethra. Lasers can lead to a quicker recovery and have fewer serious side effects.

Minimally invasive types of surgery, such as Rezūm therapy, are also emerging. This uses thermal energy from water vapour to remove prostate tissue and can have the benefit of preserving sexual function and requiring only day surgery.

It’s not known what the surgical procedure King Charles has opted for.

More information on enlarged prostate condition and treatment is available here.

Related reading: Telegraph, ABC, Australian Prostate Centre

Photo: Buckingham Palace handout

Author

John Austin

John Austin

Policy and Communications Officer

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