Prostate cancer is dominant in men as breast cancer is in women.
Since most men experience prostate complications as they get older, many younger men ignore the fact that some of the issues may be signs of early prostate cancer.
Normal hormonal changes in men can result in enlarged prostates. This happens in about 9 out of 10 men by the time they turn 80 years old.
Getting screened for prostate cancer early ensures early detection when the chances of survival are still high. It is also advisable to look out for signs like problems in passing urine and sexual dysfunction, which are one of the most distinct signs of prostate cancer, and seeking medical attention immediately.
These are some things about prostate cancer you should know.
Prostate cancer is very common in men
Among men, prostate cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer, this is according to National Cancer Institute. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer.
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Early screening is important
Early detection of prostate cancer has huge effects on a patient's journey to full recovery as it increases the chances of full treatment of the cancer.
Men who do not wait until the age of 50 to start getting screened for prostate cancer have a higher chance of surviving the disease.
The symptoms are not definitive
There are different symptoms of prostate cancer and some may be similar to other illnesses like prostatitis - an inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland.
When you start having problems like erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculations, and having issues controlling your urine stream, see your doctor and get screened for prostate cancer.
It does not always require treatment or surgery
The aggressiveness of cancer is determined using a tool called the Gleason scale. When you have a Gleason score of 6 and below, this is considered a low risk prostate cancer. 7 and above, it is considered a high risk.
Patients with low risk cancer do not necessarily need any lifeline as the cancer grows slowly and instead of the treatments, doctors will recommend regular PSA tests and regular biopsies to make sure the cancer does not become more aggressive.
Think of the effects of treatment
Before starting treatment, both you and your doctor should have a conversation about the long term effects of prostate cancer treatment. The patient should consider them based on how aggressive the cancer is.
According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, a number of men tend to have sexual or erectile dysfunction about 15 years after radiation treatment or surgery for prostate cancer.
Some men develop problems in passing urine as well. The long term effects of prostate cancer can affect a man's life significantly and turn their lives upside down.
The treatments for prostate cancer vary
Prostate cancer treatment is different for every patient because every man is different. Every treatment plan for each patient is determined on a case by case basis.
Some people may require surgical treatment in order to completely remove or destroy the tumor. Some treatments include chemotherapy, hormone treatments, immunotherapies or radiation.
A change in lifestyle can help fight it.
Several studies have shown that there is a close link between obesity and some lifestyle factors like ones diet and the increased rates of prostate cancer. Men are advised to consider changing their diets and lower their consumption of red meat, excessive drinking and stop.
Working out also helps reduce the risk factors of cancer. One should have meals that have vegetables and whole grains and fruits and avoid dairy products that are full or fat.
Family history puts men at a higher risk.
Doctors have always recommended that every adult should be in the know about their family's medical history. Many adult diseases are inherited and passed down from one generation to another.
If your grandfather, uncle or dad had prostate cancer, you are at a high risk of getting the disease and should consider getting screened from time to time.
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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke