Your man should be going for annual prostate screenings, which assist in early detection to improve his health outcomes in dealing with prostate cancer.

Who is at risk?

â??About six out of the 10 cases diagnosed are in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40,â? says Graham Anderson, Principal Officer of Profmed, the medical scheme catering exclusively to graduate professionals.

â??Prostate cancer is normally a slow progressive disease that develops in the prostate. Many men have died of old age without ever knowing that they have had prostate cancer and only once the autopsy was conducted, was it detected,â? explains Anderson.

He says the problem with cancer of the prostate, as with all other cancers, is that sometimes it can spread to other parts of the body, making control and management of the disease difficult. Therefore it is imperative that men, especially those of the age of 40 and older, should have these screenings done annually.

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â??As these screenings can be quite costly, medical schemes that encourage preventative healthcare are likely to structure benefits around the screenings in order to minimise the cost to the member. These screenings also benefit the medical industry as early detection lowers the cost for treating the cancer.â?

Furthermore, Anderson says that it is important to know the stage of the cancer, or how far it has spread. â??Knowing the stage the cancer is in helps the doctor define prognosis – it also helps when selecting which therapies and treatments to use,â? explains Anderson.

What are the symptoms?

Though symptoms are not always present, when they do exist they are usually detected when:

  • The frequency of urination increases

  • It becomes difficult or painful to urinate

  • The patient gets up at night more often to urinate

  • Blood may be present in the urine

  • Ejaculation may be painful

More advanced symptoms include:

  • Bone pain, often in the spine (vertebrae), pelvis, ribs or legs

  • Leg weakness (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)

  • Urinary incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)

  • Faecal incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)

Anderson says that some studies suggest an increase in the prevalence of prostate cancer in men who take anti-inflammatory medication on a daily basis, are obese or have suffered from a sexually transmitted disease – specifically gonorrhoea.

Most cancers are as a result of poor lifestyle choices and can be prevented by managing stress and living a healthy lifestyle, with regular exercise.

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.