The month of November was dedicated to tackle issues of Men’s Health amongst them being prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer in men.
The prostate gland is found just below the bladder in men and complete surrounds the urethra, which is a tube responsible for draining urine from the bladder via the penis. The function of the prostate gland is to produce seminal fluid that transports and nourishes sperm. Prostate cancer is often slowly growing and maybe confined to the prostate and be asymptomatic in the initial stages. It is therefore important to screen for the disease so as pick it up early and treat appropriately.
When the disease is advanced it can present with some symptoms. These include difficulty urinating or a feeling of incomplete urination. Other symptoms include blood in the urine, blood in semen, unintentional weight loss, erectile dysfunction and bone pain when the cancer has spread to the bones.
There are certain people who are more at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer than others. The risk increases with age and is more common in men aged more than 50 years. For reasons that are not completely understood it has also been found that prostate cancer is more common in the black population.
Relatives of people who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are also at an increased risk. Last but not least it has also been shown that obese individuals are at an increased risk. there is evidence that more frequent ejaculation has been associated with a decrease in prostate cancer risk. the study done found out that men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month had a less risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those who ejaculated 4 to 7 times a month.
Men aged more than 50 are encouraged to do prostate cancer screening. The screening tests include drawing of a blood sample to check for prostate specific antigen (PSA), which a substance produced by the prostate. The PSA will be significantly raised in the setting of prostate cancer. Another screening method is examination of the prostate via a digital rectal examination. In this way the doctor assesses the size and texture of the prostate gland, which will be enlarged and irregular if there is cancer.
If the screening tests are abnormal the diagnosis is the confirmed by doing further tests like a prostate ultrasound and taking a biopsy of the prostate to confirm the cancer. Other tests are then done to determine the degree of spread of the cancer before initiating treatment.
When detected late prostate cancer has significant morbidity and mortality. It is imperative for men to undergo regular screening tests to be able to pick up this cancer before it spreads. Screening tests in some instances can be as easy as a blood test.