Prostate cancer affects only men and it is the number one cancer in males and number two cancer deaths in males
The prostate is a small walnut-sized gland between the bladder and urethra, its major work is to produce a white fluid that keeps the semen healthy. This fluid is alkaline which protects the semen in an acidic Virginia environment. Without this fluid, sperm will not survive to fertilize an egg.
The entire month of September is tagged ‘Prostate cancer awareness month’ to advocate for prostate health and know how to prevent and treat this cancer, thereby reducing the number of prostate cancer-related deaths.
What is prostate cancer?
Testosterone is an essential hormone in the male body and it helps the prostate to develop to maturity. However, this hormone can begin to cause some malfunctions when the body is overexposed to it. As a man ages, the prostate increases in size because of new cell creation.
Prostate cancer like all other cancers is the accumulation or development of rogue cells or abnormal mutations in the prostate. Sometimes, the enlargement of the prostate may be benign and have no cause for alarm, some other times the confirmed case of prostate cancer may not even cause any harm because it is a slow-growing cancer, and as long as it is confined to the prostate.
Many men will live with prostate cancer and never be aware, but once cancer begins to spread beyond the prostate to the lymphatic system and bloodstream then, we got a problem at hand. This cancer affects men from 50 years and above but it is advised that men from 40 years should begin to test for prostate cancer as a way of detecting it early to treat and prevent death.
Risk factors for prostate cancer
Ethnicity is a risk factor, just Being an African/ African American
Getting old, from 50 years and above
A family history of cancer, both prostate and breast cancer
People who are obese have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer compared to normal-weight people and the tendency of recurrence is high even after taking it out.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
Blood in the urine
Discomfort in the lower abdomen/pelvic area
Pain in the back, thighs and hips.
Changes to the stream of urine
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
There’s the PSA blood test for detecting enlarged prostate, when that test is done and the numbers are high, then further test is done. The PSA test has some controversies that’s why it’s not reliable enough to say a person has prostate cancer.
A digital rectal exam is one of the traditional ways of detecting prostate cancer. It is not a painful procedure but men find it uncomfortable because the exam is done by inserting a finger into the anus and it takes about a minute to get it over with.
Prostate cancer is generally diagnosed through the process of imaging and biopsy.
How to prevent prostate cancer
According to John Hopkins University, there are things you cannot change like age, race and genes. But there are other things you can change so why not focus on those;
Stay sexually active: studies show that men who ejaculate about 21 times in a month have a higher chance of never having prostate cancer.
Get regular exercise: regular bodily exercise profits much both for your general health and prostate health.
Eat healthily: completely avoid trans fat or eat less of it, focus on eating whole food and consume healthy fat like nuts, fish and avocado. Reduce the intake of red meat. Eat fruits and vegetables.
Maintain a healthy weight: men who are obese risk developing cancer, and if it is taken out, it has a way of resurfacing in obese people. Endeavour to keep an average BMI as you age.
Again, since cancer is a result of a mutated cell or an alteration in the DNA, the focus should be on protecting the cells and keeping the genes from anything that can cause mutations in the DNA
Sunlight: direct increased exposure to sunlight can lead to the creation of free radicals, these free radicals cause the cells not to pair correctly during replication, leading to mutations. Apply sunscreen if you are going to be exposed for long hours in the sun. wear clothes that cover and protect your skin to avoid mutation.
Mutagenic chemicals; carcinogen is an agent that can cause cancer and it is basically found in tobacco smoke and asbestos. The carcinogens can bind with the DNA and potentially cause mutations that are irreversible and heritable. Avoid actively or passively smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
Gamma rays: radiation results in damage or mutation of genes that regulate cell growth and division, the cell can undergo malignant transformation. In this process, the cell becomes cancerous.
Prostate cancer is preventable as long as you go for screening early enough. I always tell my male friends that it’s best to start screening once they are 40 years of age, although prostate cancer affects men from about 50years. If you are not sure of your family history of any cancers, especially breast cancer, it’s best to stay safe by making sure if you are predisposed to it, that it is detected early. Visit your healthcare provider to see how they can guide you. If you don’t have access to any, just sign up for an affordable HMO with only 3500 per month on Reliance HMO and get access to doctors at any time.