Prostate cancer signs and symptoms after Paul Burrell announces diagnosis

Watch: Paul Burrell emotional as he reveals cancer diagnosis on TV

Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell has revealed he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Appearing on ITV show Lorraine, Burrell urged men to get checked for the disease, and said hormone therapy had left him feeling "tired and emotional".

The 64-year-old said: "There are thousands of men out there who don't have symptoms like me. I was lucky, they caught it out there.

"You've got loads of lovely female viewers who can say to their men, go get tested.

"I was really lucky they caught it early. I don't think men are particularly good about going to the doctors – they need nudging."

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way, according to charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Some prostate cancers grow really slowly, meaning it won’t cause any problems, but other prostate cancers grow quickly and are more likely to spread.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, with more than 47,500 new cases every year – that's 129 men being diagnosed every day.

Paul Burrell has spoken about his prostate cancer diagnosis for the first time. (ITV)
Paul Burrell has spoken about his prostate cancer diagnosis for the first time. (ITV)

Though it isn't known exactly what causes prostate cancer, the condition is thought to be more common in African-Caribbean and African men, and less common in Asian men.

One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but this figure rises to one in four for black men.

Read more: Celebs who have shared their breast cancer story

Men with immediate relatives who have it are also slightly more likely to have it themselves.

More than 11,500 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year – that’s one man every 45 minutes.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Some prostate cancer develops slowly, so its symptoms may not show for many years, and might never cause any problems in your lifetime.

The signs of prostate cancer often only become noticeable when the prostate is enlarged enough to affect the urethra – the tube carrying urine from the bladder to the penis.

Needing to pee more often is one of the potential signs of prostate cancer. (Getty Images)
Needing to pee more often is one of the potential signs of prostate cancer. (Getty Images)

According to the NHS, prostate cancer symptoms can include:

  • needing to pee more frequently, often during the night

  • needing to rush to the toilet

  • difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)

  • straining or taking a long time while peeing

  • weak flow

  • feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

  • blood in urine or blood in semen

But these symptoms do not always mean you have prostate cancer. Many men's prostates get larger as they get older because of a non-cancerous condition called prostate enlargement.

For some men the first symptoms of prostate cancer occur when it has spread beyond the prostate gland to the bones and these can include back pain, loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.

Whatever pain, discomfort or symptoms you feel, it is always best to discuss these with your GP.

Read more: Bill Turnbull and Linda Nolan urge public to not delay cancer checks

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Paul Erotocritou, consultant urologist at BMI King's Oak Hospital in North London, says GPs can use a number of tests to diagnose the condition.

"A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test detects whether there is a rise of the PSA protein in the blood that might indicate prostate cancer," he previously told Yahoo UK.

"There is also a urine test to detect whether an enlarged prostate might actually be an inflammation of the gland.

"Your GP may also be able to feel an enlarged prostate through the wall of the bowel."

Further hospital tests may include more advanced options such as a prostate biopsy, MRI, CT or ultrasound scan, or prostate mapping.

Read more: This 10-minute scan could tell if you are at risk of prostate cancer

Treatments for prostate cancer

If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are several possible treatments available, including monitoring a slow-spreading cancer, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and removal of the gland.

"It's best to discuss treatments and side effects with your doctor," said Erotocritou.

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can contact Prostate Cancer UK's specialist nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or online via the Live Chat instant messaging service at

The specialist nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.

Men can also check their risk of disease at

Additional reporting PA.