Prostate Cancer

A recent study by the American Cancer Society has indicated, 1 in every 9 men are expected to have prostate cancer after the age of 65. It is the second most commonly occurring cancer in men, worldwide. While the number is debatable, the seriousness of the issue at hand is not.

Let’s delve deeper and understand few key points for prevention, diagnosis and treatment options.

Age related prostate cancer diagnosis are on the rise, however, that can be attributed to the prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening tests which are now largely available due to significant advancement in technology. This isn’t a bad thing though. We are now able to diagnose even small oncoming problems before they would otherwise be diagnosed, even with the lack of visible symptoms which means better treatment plans, and essentially the golden rule of all good health: ‘Prevention is better than cure.’

The lack of awareness about risks of prostate cancer, more importantly understanding it, are worrisome. 30% of 100 men polled believed that prostate cancer affects both men and women. To clarify, prostate is a gland found in the male reproductive system, which means it does not affect women. The prostate, located above the bladder, is a walnut sized gland that secretes a fluid that nourishes and protects the sperm in semen. During ejaculation, the muscle contraction squeezes the prostate gland that releases fluid which helps in formation of semen.

As men age, the size of the gland naturally increases as do the levels of PSA. It is therefore highly recommended for men between ages of 40-70 to get annual medical exams and conduct self inspection every month. Of any irregularity is felt, it is best to consult your GP to examine and guide you further.

Risk Factors:

1: Age: Men are more likely to have an enlarged prostate as they age, usually over the age of 60 but it is advisable to be cautious after 40 any way.

2: Race/ Ethnicity: Men from the Carribean, African-American ancestry are at a higher risk. It is less common for population of Asian descent to have prostate cancer although not ruled out completely.

3: Genetic History: If an older relative- brother, father or son who has had prostate issues, you are at a potentially higher risk to follow in line. Best to be proactive and be regular with your health check ups.

4: Geography: Prostate cancer is most common in areas such as North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on the Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America.

Symptoms:

Many people display different symptoms of prostate cancer due to the varying physiology of the human body. Listed below are common symptoms of prostate cancer.

  • Difficulty in starting urination
  • Weak, interrupted flow of urine
  • Increase in frequency of urination especially at night
  • Difficulty in emptying the bladder completely, urinating frequently, smaller amounts
  • Experiencing pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that persists for an extended period of time
  • Painful ejaculation

Please be advised that it is possible that these symptoms may be a result of numerous factors other than prostate cancer, so it is important to talk to your doctor about any symptoms that occur before you start to panic.

Diagnosis:

1: Digital Rectal Exam: Physician will insert a gloved finger up the rectum to feel for abnormalities of prostate gland

2: Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test : By collecting a blood panel, doctors are able to determine level of PSA in blood.

3: Ultrasound exam : This is essentially the first course of treatment to see if the prostate shows enlargement

Multiple treatment options are available including but not limited to surgery, surveillance, radiation and hormone therapies. For the best course of action and prevention consult our GP by booking an appointment. Inquire about ongoing offers to avail discounts on annual health check-ups.