INSIGHT ON PROSTATE CANCER

Posted: 8th March 2019
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As a man, I can attest that, we seldom worry about general health, unless if it is something which will affect our deportment as men or ability to execute our day to day activities. With this regard, you will realize conditions like Prostate cancer which is common in our 50`s, is ignored as worry, in […]

As a man, I can attest that, we seldom worry about general health, unless if it is something which will affect our deportment as men or ability to execute our day to day activities.

With this regard, you will realize conditions like Prostate cancer which is common in our 50`s, is ignored as worry, in a man’s life. This might come as a surprise to our female counterparts but truth be told, one of the main reasons why most men are unaware of the dangers of this illness is because it is not talked about enough amongst their peers. Most men also view it as a sign of weakness due to lack of proper awareness.

Contrary, we need to overcome this worry and be aware that prostate cancer is one of the types of cancer with the best chances of recovery. This is because it often grows very slowly which makes it possible to treat it effectively, once diagnosed early.

What is Prostate?

The prostate is a small, walnut sized gland associated with the male reproductive system. This small organ is prone to a number of diseases, one of being, prostate cancer

What is prostate cancer?

As we are aware,cancer develops when too many mutated cells multiply and a tumor grows. Therefore, Prostate cancer can be defined as uncontrolled multiplication of prostate cells. This can happen if the genetic information (DNA) in the cells has changed (mutated). The body’s immune system usually keeps these cells in check.

How can we detect it?

Prostate cancer normally goes unnoticed since it does not manifest until it is at an advanced stage. In this case scenario, it can be attributed to problems in urination e.g. Increased urge to urinate, weak urine flow, discomfort while urinating, blood stained urine and semen, lower back / upper thigh pain etc. If these red flags are experienced, it is important for one to visit a doctor for further diagnostic tests.

What are the Causes and Risk factors?

Despite years of research, little is known as to the exact cause of prostate cancer. However, the following are some factors which are closely associated with it:

  • Age: Prostate cancer is an age-dependent disease, which means the chance of developing it increases with age.
  • Family history: If you have a first-degree male relative with prostate cancer, you have a higher chance of developing it than men with no such history. The risk increases again if more than one male relative has prostate cancer. Risks are also higher for men whose male relatives were diagnosed when young.
  • Race: Black men are somewhat more likely to develop prostate cancer,
  • Diet: Increased intake of processed meat or food that is high in fat and vitamin E, have been linked with prostate cancer.
  • Lifestyle:  Sedentary lifestyle can affect the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Diagnosis?

After a discussion with the doctor he/she may recommend a couple of tests;

Firstly, the doctor will do a digital rectal exam (DRE) where he will check the size, hardness and surface of the prostate.

Secondly, he will request the PSA test, a blood test that looks for a certain protein known as “prostate-specific antigen.” This protein is produced inside the prostate. Small amounts of it enter the bloodstream. Kindly note increased levels does not necessarily mean that someone has prostate cancer.

The doctor can further do a Transurethral ultrasound (TRUS) to further view its shape and size (its though not readily available).

Lastly, if the findings are suggestive, he will proceed and do a Tissue sample (biopsy). This is the most ideal way to determine whether the prostate, actually is cancerous. Ten to twelve tissue samples are usually taken to be examined under a microscope, where they can be checked for cancer, and determine how aggressive the tumor is.

Treatment

Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed the doctor will identify treatment options based on the following factors:

  • Aggressiveness of the tumor
  • the stage of prostate cancer
  • Age and condition of the individual.

The doctor will further discuss the factors and treatment options with the individual so as to identify the ideal management.

Often, partners and people caring for men diagnosed with prostate cancer feel excluded from discussions about the person they are caring for. It is important that you feel involved in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to treatment decisions. This is particularly important when some treatments for prostate cancer may result in short-term or long-term continence, bowel and sexual issues.

How can we reduce the risk of Prostate cancer?

The following factors can help improve your overall health and possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer though there is no evidence that the following protective factors can stop prostate cancer from developing;

  • Nutrition: Healthy eating or nutritious diet are key aspects in cancer management. Nutritionists will best guide you on what is good for the prostate.
  • Physical activity/exercise: There is some evidence to show that physical activity and regular exercise can be protective factors for cancer. Try to exercise at least an hour of a day.

Parting Shot

I would wish to quote Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, The Governor of our Great County of Kisumu who came out publicly as a victim and survivor and pointed out: “But here’s the thing,” he begins reflectively. “If we were more aware, we would arrest this monster early and would not even need to undergo invasive procedures. That for me is what I would like most Kenyans to do… seek information and be in the know, it saves a lot.”

Lastly “Be your brother`s, father`s, grandfather`s, workmate`s, teammate`s or your neighbour`s keeper and advocate for prostate cancer awareness

Article By: George Onassis -Senior Branch Officer- Health Division GA insurance Ltd Kisumu

Image: Courtesy