Actor Eric Braeden has revealed he is battling prostate cancer – which is known as a ‘silent killer’ due to its ability to grow without symptoms for months or years.
The actor said at one point the cancer left him unable to urinate which was ‘one of the most painful experiences I’ve had’.
About 288,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US every year. It is also the fourth leading cause of death from cancer among men, data shows, with 34,700 fatalities annually.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease, striking thousands of American men every year. It is most prevalent in over-50s and black men
Eric Braeden revealed he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in a Facebook Live video. Symptoms included needing to urinate often and not being able to urinate at all
Symptoms are difficult to spot in the early stages when the cancer is easier to treat.
Charities estimate there are more than 53,000 new cases in the UK each year and 12,000 British men die each year from the disease.
Revealing his cancer diagnosis, Braeden said: ‘My prostate, I’d had some problems with it before. It manifests itself by you having to pee a lot.
‘And it got to the point where I had to get up almost every half-hour.’
He added: ‘Meanwhile, the urination problem became so bad I couldn’t pee. And that, my friends, I can tell you, is one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had.’
He said that he went to see doctors the same day he found he was unable to urinate, where doctors then diagnosed the cancer following scans.
Braeden has now received two rounds of chemotherapy to help cure the disease.
Doctors say early warning signs of prostate cancer are often triggered by pressure on the urethra — the tube through which urine and semen exit the body.
The prostate is about the size of a walnut and is located between the penis and bladder, and surrounds the urethra.
Warning signs of the cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, include making someone urinate more frequently or several times during the night.
It can also lead to a weak urine flow, medics say, or for it to take a long time for urine to exit the body.
Sufferers may also find it difficult to start urinating or, after urinating, may feel as though their bladder has not fully emptied.
Less common warning signs include blood appearing in semen or urine, signaling that the tumor may have ruptured blood vessels in the urethra.
Braeden has revealed his diagnosis to warn others about the condition. He is shown above with Melody Thomas Scott on the series ‘The Young and the Restless’
In later stages, the cancer can cause other symptoms including trouble getting an erection and weakness or numbness in the legs and feet.
It could also lead to a complete loss of bladder or bowel control, because of the tumor pressing up against the spinal cord.
In some cases, the cancer is also known to trigger pain in the hips, back, chest and other areas where it has spread to the bone.
Older men often struggle with urination, doctors say, because the prostate enlarges over time.
But the disruption can also be caused by prostate cancer, with screening guidelines in place for men to encourage them to get checked.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, based in New York, says all men should get screened once between the ages 45 to 49 years.
It also suggests screening up to every two to four years for those aged 50 to 70 years old who are at higher risk of the cancer.
If the blood test suggests a low risk at age 50 years, they suggest no further screening until age 60.
Virtually all patients survive prostate cancer when it is caught in the early stages.
But if the cancer is not detected until it has spread to other areas of the body, this drops to 32 percent of patients live for more than five years after diagnosis.