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What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

OJ Simpson died from prostate cancer on 10 April 2024

Brittany Miller
New York
Thursday 11 April 2024 19:36 BST
Related: OJ Simpson dies of cancer age 76

OJ Simpson’s family announced on Thursday 11 April that he had died at 76-years-old amid a battle with prostate cancer.

Simpson died on Wednesday surrounded by his children and grandchildren. “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” his family wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

In May 2023 Simpson shared in a social media post that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and that he had been using medical marijuana to help with his symptoms.

“I had to do the whole chemo thing … I started smoking a couple of puffs a day, and I only had nausea twice. I’m over the chemo,” Simpson said. “I only got nauseous on two occasions. … The pot really helped me with the unfortunate side of catching cancer.”

In Simpson’s final video, he insisted that his health was alright, despite some complications. That video was posted to X on 11 February, two months before he died.

“My health is good. I mean, obviously, I’m dealing with some issues but I think I’m just about over it,” Simpson said in the video.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in the UK, affecting approximately one in eight men during their lifetime.

While the condition is more likely to affect men over the age of 50, it can be diagnosed at a younger age.

From symptoms to treatment, here’s everything you need to know about the condition.

What is prostate cancer?

As the name suggests, prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland, which is located at the base of the bladder.

The main function of the prostate gland, a male reproductive organ, is to secrete prostate fluid, which mixes with sperm to create semen.

The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut but enlarges as men age. It surrounds the first part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen.

When prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland, this usually occurs in the outer gland cells of the prostate, Cancer Research UK states. These cells are called acinar adenocarcinomas.

Cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin to divide and grow uncontrollably.

According to the charity, the majority of cases of prostate cancer grow slowly and do not usually spread to other parts of the body.

When prostate cancer has spread to another part of the body, it becomes known as advanced prostate cancer.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Dr Jiri Kubes, radiation oncologist and medical director of the Proton Therapy Centre in Prague, Czech Republic, told The Independent that it is possible to have no symptoms at all, which makes getting a diagnosis so difficult.

“However, men should keep a close eye on any changes in urinary habits including needing to go to the toilet more often and difficulty emptying their bladder,” Kubes said.

“These changes don’t necessarily mean someone has prostate cancer, but there are checks that can be carried out to rule out such a diagnosis.”

Other symptoms include difficulty in starting to urinate or a weak flow, as well as blood or semen in the urine.

Older men may experience similar symptoms due to prostate enlargement, which is a non-cancerous condition.

What are the causes?

While it is not known what causes prostate cancer, several factors may increase one’s risk of developing the condition.

These include being over the age of 50; whether one has a brother or father who developed prostate cancer before turning 60; being overweight; and following an unhealthy diet, the NHS states.

Kubes confirmed this, saying, “We don’t know the causes of prostate cancer but we do know some men are more at risk than others. They include men over the age of 50, members of the Black community and anyone with a family history of the disease.”

Those of African or African-Caribbean descent may also be at greater risk of being diagnosed with the condition.


Treatment plans will vary based on whether their prostate cancer is localised in the prostate gland or has spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment for prostate cancer is undertaken to either cure the disease, or control symptoms so that they do not shorten a patient’s life expectancy, according to NHS.

Some older men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer may be advised to carry out “watchful waiting”, which is when they keep a close eye to see whether or not they develop any progressive cancer symptoms.

They may also be told to do “active surveillance”, which involves undergoing tests such as MRI scans and biopsies while avoiding other treatments deemed “unnecessary”.

Other treatments that patients diagnosed with prostate cancer may undergo include radical prostatectomy, which is the surgical removal of the prostate gland; radiotherapy; hormone therapy; and chemotherapy.

If a person’s prostate cancer has become too advanced, then it may not be able to be cured.

However, treatments such as radiotherapy, hormone treatment and chemotherapy may slow down its progression.

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