Five Things Every Man Should Know About Prostate Cancer

1. The prostate is a reproductive organ.

The prostate gland is a reproductive organ that contributes to seminal fluid, making semen more liquid to protect sperm. The prostate is about the size of a golf ball in younger men. It can be found in front of the rectum and below the bladder. The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube through which we urinate. After men reach roughly 40 years of age, the prostate grows. As it gets bigger, it can make it more difficult for men to urinate.

2. Prostate Cancer is the 3rd most common cancer diagnosed in Singapore

Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer among men, after skin cancer. It’s estimated that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Prostate cancer generally occurs in men over the age of 50. The average age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 67. The risk of getting prostate cancer is affected by age and family history, as reflected in the prostate health of male relatives such as fathers, brothers, and uncles. Smokers and workers exposed to cadmium are also at a higher risk of prostate cancer, as are men who have undergone a vasectomy. Other risk factors include a diet high in animal fat but low in fiber. High circulating levels of testosterone have also been noted in those with prostate cancer.

3. Get screened for prostate cancer – with a PSA blood test

The urologists still encourage men to get screened for prostate cancer. It’s important to make an informed decision about when and how often you should be screened. Talk to your doctor about what makes sense for you. It is highly recommended that men 50 and over consider getting a PSA blood test every 1-2 years. Men with high-risk factors, including family history, African-American heritage, or symptoms, should start getting screened at 40 years of age.

4. Don’t panic

Prostate cancer, in most cases, is a slow-growing cancer. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it but may live with it for 20 or 30 years. Many men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from other causes. More than 2.5 million men are currently living with prostate cancer.

At present, there is a lack of evidence to support population-based screening for prostate cancer in Singapore. Patients should seek medical attention should there be symptoms as suggested above.  You should go for screening if you are male, above 50 years of age, and have a family history of prostate cancer diagnosed below 60 years of age.

5. Treatments

If you do have prostate cancer, you have many treatment options. Today, men benefit from advances in treatment, ranging from Active Surveillance or Watchful Waiting, open surgery, radiotherapy, Hormone (Androgen Deprivation) Therapy, and Chemotherapy. Here’s a quick overview of just a few of those treatment options:

a. Active Surveillance

As some prostate cancers grow very slowly and may take many years to show symptoms or spread, certain men diagnosed with prostate cancer may not need immediate treatment. Active surveillance refers to the strategy of closely observing patients with low-risk localized prostate cancer while keeping the option of deferred curative treatment open.

Watchful waiting is advocated as a reasonable approach for certain men with prostate cancer (especially elderly men without symptoms who have a short life expectancy due to advanced age or the presence of multiple illnesses). Watchful waiting involves a less intensive follow-up schedule than active surveillance, with a view toward treatment only when symptoms occur. Watchful waiting is generally suitable for men with other health problems who may not be able to cope with treatments like surgery or radiotherapy.

b. Surgery

An open or robot-assisted radical prostatectomy may be recommended if the tumor is localized at the prostate. It involves the complete removal of the prostate, which often includes the pelvic lymph nodes. This procedure is commonly used to treat prostate cancer in its early stages. The possible side effects of radical prostatectomy include incontinence (not being able to control urination) and impotence (not being able to have an erection). These side effects may also occur with other forms of treatment for prostate cancer.

c. Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing.

There are 3 main forms of radiotherapy used:

  • External beam radiotherapy (EBRT) focuses radiation on an area affected by cancer. EBRT techniques may include Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT) where radiation beams point the tumor in several directions.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) points highly focused beams of high-dose radiation to the prostate over a day or several days.
  • Brachytherapy involves the surgical placement of permanent or temporary implants to deliver radiation to the prostate.

d. Hormone (Androgen Deprivation) Therapy

Hormonal therapy is commonly used to treat prostate cancer when it has spread or is used in combination with radiotherapy when the cancer is locally advanced or at high risk. Hormonal therapy can slow or stop the growth and spread of prostate cancer by interfering with the effects of male hormones on prostate cancer.

There are two forms of hormonal therapy:

  • Prescribing drugs that prevent the release or counter the action of male hormones
  • Carrying out surgery to remove the testes, which are a major source of male hormones

Hot flashes, impaired sexual function, and loss of desire for sex may occur in men treated with hormone therapy.

e. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells either by killing them or stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy is generally given to patients at an advanced or metastatic stage of prostate cancer when they are no longer responsive to hormonal treatment. It won’t cure prostate cancer but it will shrink and slow its growth. Chemotherapy may cause side effects such as nausea, hair loss (alopecia), inflammation of the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, and roof or floor of the mouth (stomatitis), and an abnormal blood profile that could increase the risk of infection.

f. Health Supplements

Many have claimed that supplements can help to prevent or lessen the symptoms associated with prostate problems, generally by reducing inflammation. Let us introduce our product from Millenia Herbs for Advanced Prostate Care which allows us to take care of men’s prostate health. It contains 5 main ingredients: Saw palmetto, pumpkin seeds, nettle, ginger, and tongkat ali. Saw palmetto supports prostate and urinary health and reduces male pattern baldness. Some also use the supplement to boost libido and fertility and reduce inflammation. Saw palmetto may help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — a medical condition characterized by a slow, noncancerous yet abnormal enlargement of the prostate.

In conclusion, finding out about prostate cancer early is tricky for doctors. Even though it’s a common cancer, most guys don’t have symptoms until it’s advanced. Regular tests aren’t perfect either, and sometimes they miss the cancer or say there’s cancer when there isn’t. Researchers are looking for better ways to tell the difference between serious and non-serious prostate cancer.

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