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Bringing Awareness to Prostate Cancer

Written By Joedene

This month we focus on the prostate, which is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). As a man ages, the prostate usually increases in size.

In fact, the risk of prostate cancer increases rapidly after 50 years of age. Also, if a father or brother has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is greater risk . 

What can you do to prevent this disease?

Preventative measures include 

  • Simply improving your diet (reduce fat intake, eat more fruit and vegetables), 
  • Exercising more
  • Avoiding obesity
  • Being sexually active (with or without a partner) which experts theorise is due to clearing the body of toxins and other substances that could cause inflammation.

Unfortunately, there usually aren’t any early warning signs for prostate cancer. Someone may have the disease for many years, but feel no pain. That’s why screening for prostate cancer is such an important topic for all men and their families.

How can I get diagnosed?

The most common test for prostate cancer is a blood test known as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, measures the level of PSA and may help detect early prostate cancer. Otherwise,a physical Digital rectal examination may be performed to feel the prostate for anything abnormal, such as cancer. A blood test may not provide reliable results, in which case the only way to know if an abnormal test is due to cancer is to do a biopsy. A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope to check for cancer.

Treatments include surgically removing the prostate, or Permanent Seed Brachytherapy, which is a type of radiotherapy where tiny radioactive seeds are put into your prostate. Each radioactive seed is the size and shape of a grain of rice. The seeds give a steady dose of radiation over a few months, which damages the prostate cells and stops them dividing and growing. Cancer cells can’t recover from this damage and die, while healthy cells can repair themselves more easily.

Advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include:

frequent and/or pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, a weak stream, pain in the back or pelvis, and weak legs or feet.

Next steps

The facts are plain:

men are less likely to seek health care than women, even though they are more likely to get this type of cancer. If you are male, over 50, and have not already done so, give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind.

Consult your physician, and arrange a test.