All men are at risk for prostate cancer. About 1 out of every 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. The prostate is a walnut-shaped organ that is part of the male reproductive system.
This gland sits directly below the bladder and plays a role in producing semen. It is around the size of a walnut in younger men but usually increases in size as a man ages. The prostate gland can be affected by several diseases and conditions and prostate cancer is one of them.
How common is Prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer represents the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Prostate cancer incidence increases as men age; as many as 60% of men over 65 years of age may be diagnosed with prostate cancer. A study done in Nigeria showed that the age range of individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer was between 47-91 years with the mean age being 68 ±10 years.
The incidence is highest in Blacks worldwide. It has been shown that African-American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer worldwide and are more likely to develop the disease earlier in life and have the advanced stages when discovered compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
The well-established prostate cancer risk factors are
- Advanced age
- Genetic factors and
- Family history
The following have also been linked with the development of prostate cancer;
- Men with a family history of breast cancer.
- Increased consumption of saturated animal fat and red meat
- Lower intake of fruits and vegetables
- Physical inactivity
- Environmental exposure to chemicals or ionizing radiation.
This depends on when the disease is caught. With increased screening with Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA test), prostate cancer can be diagnosed at a stage where there are no symptoms. At its more advanced stages, it can cause a variety of symptoms such as
- Trouble urinating
- Blood in urine
- Bone pain
- Weight loss
- Nerve issues
- Lower limb swelling amongst others
The diagnosis of prostate cancer ultimately depends on the review of the samples taken during a prostate biopsy. Digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) evaluation are the two components used in prostate cancer screening. Abnormal PSA and or digital rectal examination are usually the indications for carrying out a prostate biopsy.
This depends on the stage of the disease and risk classification. The stage is determined by imaging and risk classification considers imaging, PSA values, and Gleason score. Treatment is multidisciplinary amongst the Urologist, Oncologist etc
Treatment options include;
- Active surveillance
- Hormonal therapy
- Bone health agents
You can reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer if you;
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid smoking
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Depending on the degree of one’s prostate cancer risk, the American Cancer Society recommends screening (e.g PSA test) from the age of 40. You can book your PSA test here now.
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, do speak with a doctor about it and you will be advised on the best step to take.