What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer in the prostate gland. This form of cancer only affects men, as only men have a prostate gland. This is also the most common cancer in men. The prostate is located under the bladder and in front of the rectum.
As with all forms of cancer, cancer in the prostate gland develops with abnormal cells begin to develop and grow.
Signs and Symptoms
Early (or localized prostate cancer) is often asymptomatic although some may experience urinary issues.
What to Look Out For:
- More frequent urination;
- Difficulties starting urination;
- Taking long time to finish urination;
- Weak urine flow;
- The feeling that the bladder isn’t empty;
- Issues with urine leakage
Symptoms That Are Less Common
- Pain when urinating and/or ejaculating;
- Blood in urine or semen;
- Problems in getting and keeping erection.
Who’s At Risk?
- Age: Prostate cancer is uncommon in men under 40 years of age but increases significantly after 50 years old.
- Ethnicity: Men of African descent seem to be more vulnerable to prostate cancer compared to men of other ethnicities.
- Family History: Prostate cancer can be traced to a genetic factor; if your father or brother has had prostate cancer, then you are also at higher risk of developing it.
- Saturated fat: Men who eat a diet rich in saturated fats, such as red meat and high fat dairy products, may be at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Sedentary lifestyle and overweight: Men who engage in very little physical activity and have a high body mass index (BMI) may also be at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
There is currently no known way to prevent prostate cancer but here are some easy things you can do which may help lower your risk of developing prostate cancer:
- Keeping a diet low in saturated fat and rich in vegetables and fruits;
- Being physically active
- Keeping a healthy weight.
Screening for prostate cancer once you turn 50 years old (younger if it runs in your family) may help detect any issues before they become a more serious problem. You should have a conversation with your doctor to decide whether screening may be a good procedure for you. At Khema, prostate screening is part of the services we provide. Please contact us or make an appointment with one of our specialists. Prostate screening is also part of one of our health promotion package for men. For more information, please click here.
Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment
Screening for prostate cancer is done before any problems arise. Screening can be done two ways:
- Blood test: A simple blood test that can detect prostate specific antigen.
- Digital rectal exam: A manual rectal exam where a doctor examines the prostate through the rectum for abnormalities.
If either of these tests show abnormalities, your doctor will schedule further testing, e.g. a transrectal ultrasound and prostate biopsy. If cancer is found, your doctor will go over different treatment options available to you – whether it is surveillance and monitoring or more intrusive treatments, such as surgery, hormone treatment, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.