Every day, an average of 58 Canadians are diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most common cancer among Canadian men. If detected early, survival is now close to 100 per cent. It is important to spread awareness about this disease as men over age 65 account for nearly 60% of all prostate cancer diagnoses. (Prostate Cancer Foundation: Patient Guide)
About Prostate Health:
Men have prostates, which are small glands located near the bladder. Prostates can develop problems like infections or inflammation. Cancer cells can also form in the prostate, which can develop into tumors. Prostate cancer is a disease where some prostate cells have lost normal control of growth and division. They no longer function as healthy cells.
A cancerous prostate cell has the following features:
• Uncontrolled growth
• Abnormal structure
• The ability to move to other parts of the body (invasiveness).
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer:
Symptoms are not always present especially in the early stages of the cancer. If detected and treated in its earliest stages (when cells are only in the prostate), your chances of survival are greatly increased. Early detection is key. For many men, having to experience a rectal exam is the main reason for avoiding prostate cancer screening. Remind senior men that their health (and genes) can affect their loved ones. Any temporary discomfort is worth it and could save a life.
Common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer may include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Urgent need to urinate
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Burning or pain when urinating
- Inability to urinate or difficulty starting or stopping urine flow
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the urine or semen
There are two main options for screening for prostate cancer. Men can receive a blood test, which is called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A physical rectal exam may also be conducted. If a doctor suspects a patient has prostate cancer, a biopsy is almost always involved in the diagnosis.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer:
The most common treatments for prostate cancer include radiation, surgery to remove tumors, and drug-based therapies. (Prostate Cancer Foundation: Patient Guide)
No studies to date have definitively proven a prostate cancer prevention strategy. However, some prevention strategies are believed to reduce the risk of cancer overall, and may improve the body’s ability to fight any kind of cancer. Try:
• Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet • Maintaining a healthy weight • Staying active • Attending regularly scheduled doctor appointments (Mayo Clinic)
The obvious reason for screening older men for cancer is that early detection increases the odds of survival. There are other reasons for getting screened, though: • Men with prostate cancer may have genes that predispose both their sons and daughters to forms of cancer. • Data about prostate cancer, even if it is non-aggressive, can be used by researchers to prevent and treat all cancers. • Early detection can reduce the intensity of treatment required, as well as the side effects. • Doctors may be able to begin with the less invasive blood test if a senior’s risk level is low. (Prostate Cancer Foundation)
For more information, speak with your Physician.
To find a local support group or for more online information visit: www.prostatecancer.ca/ and www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/prostate-cancer/?region=on