Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in men in both the developed and the developing countries.
Khurrum Mir, FRCS(Ed), M.Med.Sci(Gl), FRCS in UROLOGY(UK), and fellow of the European Board of Urology shares his views about prostate cancer with Nation.com
Do you know about 30 % (1 in 3) men in the West are at the risk of developing microscopic prostate cancer? The good news is that prostate cancer is a slow developing cancer. 10 %(1 in 10) will actually develop the clinical disease.
Some of the factors that play a role in the development of prostate cancer are:
- Age – below the age of 50, it is relatively rare to have the disease. Risk goes up considerably post 60 years of age. And prostate cancer risk is a whopping 70%, after 80 years of age.
- Ethnic and geographical factors -North America and Western Europe have the highest occurrence of prostate cancer, while there is lowest incidence in the Far East (Chinese and Japanese races). Indo-Pak races show intermediate risk.
- Hereditary link – Risk factors go up by 2 to 3 times, if someone in the immediate family has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The threat goes up further, if more than one first-degree relative has the disease.
- Positive link between eating unsaturated fats, red meat with prostate cancer.
- Exposure to ultraviolent light and cadmium (of importance to those working with the nuclear power industry) increases the risk
Visit a doctor immediately in case you spot any of the following symptoms:
- Increased urinary frequency during the day as well as the night
- On micturition (pee/ pass urine) a patient may experience difficulty, as in there could be a difficulty in getting started. The urinary stream may be weak with terminal dribbling. The urinary stream may also stop and start. Also it is common to experience that the bladder has not completely emptied, and the need to visit the loo may arise again.
- A strong desire to pee on an urgent basis. Can be confused as urinary incontinence.
- Blood in the urine (haematuria)
- Blood in the semen
- Lower abdominal pain or discomfort
- Burning sensation on passing urine
So how does one stay a step ahead? Keep a look out for symptoms, and do the following test especially if you are above 50 or at risk due to hereditary reasons.
- PSA (prostate specific antigen) is a simple blood test that can raise the first red flag for the disease. This is the first hurdle as they say.
- If PSA is positive, then prostate biopsies can be done to confirm
- Radiological scans like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computerized tomography) and radio-isotope bone scans are the more specific tests, which done only if the specialist recommends.
The American Urological Association (AUA) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) recommends annual PSA check for patients above 50.
Khurrum Mir says,
Given the lack of specific symptoms of this disease, it is important to seek advice from a properly trained urologist at an early stage so that the disease can be diagnosed and cured without any significant complications and have annual PSA check for men around 50 years of age and above.