Dubai: They say men usually don’t talk and take preventative measures when it comes to their health. Doctors in the United Arab Emirates would like to change this perception and raise awareness about men’s health, especially the prevention and early detection of prostate cancer.
It comes at an opportune time, as November is also known as ‘Movember’ or ‘No-Shave November’, a fad that started in 2003 and has grown into a global movement – where men get pushed their finest mustache to defend for men’s health.
Even without growing a moustache, one can still support the cause of cancer awareness, Dr. Mohamed Horan, a urology specialist at NMC Royal Hospital in Sharjah, told Gulf News. “You just need to know about the disease and help others become aware of it because early detection is crucial to saving your life,” he added.
Dr Horan said: “Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
“All men are at risk for prostate cancer,” he added, noting, “The most common risk factor is age. The older a man, the more likely he is to have prostate cancer People are also at increased risk of getting or dying from prostate cancer if they are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
Dr Ahmed Hindawi, a urology specialist at the Saudi German Hospital in Sharjah, said: ‘Prostate cancer is rare in men under 40, but the risk of getting prostate cancer is increasing rapidly. after 50 years. Additionally, about six in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men over the age of 65.
Dr. Hindawi also said that “the reasons for racial and ethnic differences are unclear, especially for African American men. Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia and the Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America and South America”.
He added: “Regarding family history, if you have more than one first degree relative [father, son, or brother] who had prostate cancer, including relatives over three generations on the maternal or paternal side of the family, then you are at high risk of getting prostate cancer.
Signs and symptoms
Doctors say the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer are sexual dysfunction, weakness or numbness in limbs, changes in bladder habits, frequent pain, blood in urine, difficulty starting to urinate, a weak or interrupted flow of urine, difficulty emptying the bladder completely, pain or burning during urination, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation; urinating often, especially at night, and pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that does not go away.
“But keep in mind that these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer,” they added.
Doctors strongly recommend screening for prostate cancer in men over 50 or earlier, if other risk factors are present. Most prostate cancers are first discovered following screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or digital rectal examination (DRE).
“Men who choose to be tested and who have a PSA below 2.5 ng/mL may only need to be retested every 2 years. PSA is 2.5 ng/mL or higher,” said Dr. Nilkamal Joshi, Department Head and Urology Specialist at NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain.
“Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. [after skin cancer], but only one in 41 men dies from prostate cancer. It is a slow growing tumor.
Dr. Joshi said prostate cancer is preventable. “Many risk factors such as age, race and family history cannot be controlled. But there are some things you can do that could lower your risk of prostate cancer.
“You have to watch your weight, do physical activities and have a good diet. Follow a healthy eating pattern; avoid or limit red and processed meats, sugary drinks. Get regular showings,” he added.
“Early detection of the disease can be achieved through screening and an individualized strategy adapted to the risk. A rectal examination by a doctor can sometimes detect prostate cancer.
It’s time to get tested
Professor Dr. Haluk Kulaksizoglu, consultant in urology, said: “Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. But also one of the cancers that can be cured or managed in a way that does not affect the lifespan of those who have it. Correct diagnoses at the right time are crucial for disease management.
“Prostate cancer doesn’t show any symptoms until it’s generalized. This is why all guidelines dictate that a prostate cancer screening should be done for all men over the age of 50. But in some cases where there are risk factors, the screening age drops to 45,” he added.
“A diagnosis of prostate cancer does not mean you will die soon, although the word ‘cancer’ carries a certain stigma. The biopsy report tells us about the cell types. This is important in decision making.
“The treatment options for prostate cancer, regardless of its stage, have improved dramatically over the past decade. In patients diagnosed with cancer at a stage where the cancer has not grown outside the prostate, the cure rate is nearly 100% with surgery or radiation therapy. Each case of prostate cancer requires appropriate treatments with experienced and multidisciplinary teams.
Dr. Kulaksizoglu also emphatically recalled: “Prostate cancer is a common and deadly disease. It is sad to see patients with advanced disease simply because they skipped a simple prostate exam. Had they been diagnosed earlier, they and their loved ones would have suffered much less and life expectancy would be the same as that of any cancer-free man in the same age group.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, which includes the penis, prostate, seminal vesicles and testicles. The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra. It produces a liquid that forms part of semen.
Key facts about prostate cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, “prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, with the exception of skin cancer.”
• In the United States this year there are 268,490 new cases and approximately 34,500 deaths from prostate cancer
• About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
• Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men and in non-Hispanic black men.
• About 6 in 10 cases are diagnosed in men 65 or older, and it is rare in men under 40.
• The average age of men at diagnosis is around 66 years old.
• About 1 in 41 men will die from prostate cancer.
• Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 3.1 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive today.