Prostate cancer: What every man should know


Prostate cancer which occurs in the prostate is one of the
most common types of cancer. It has become a health concern affecting men.


While men at the age of 50 and above are said to be at risk
of suffering from such cancer, Cancer Research – the world’s largest
independent cancer research organisation revealed that “most prostate cancers
start in the outer gland cells of the prostate and are known as acinar
adenocarcinomas. Many of these cancers grow extremely slowly and are not likely
to spread. But some can grow more quickly.”


– What is the
prostate? –

The prostate, a small gland in men, forms a crucial part of
the male reproductive system. Resembling the size and form of a walnut, it is
situated in the lower pelvis, positioned below the bladder and situated just
ahead of the rectum.


One of its primary functions is contributing to the
production of semen, the whitish fluid responsible for transporting sperm from
the testicles via the penis during ejaculation. Additionally, the prostate
encircles a portion of the urethra, a tube responsible for conveying urine from
the bladder and out through the penis.


– Symptoms –

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include difficulty/pain in
urination, weak or interrupted flow of urine; urinating often, especially at
night; and trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED). Others
include blood in urine; inability to hold or delay urination; and pain in the
hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas.


A report by PUNCH Healthwise in February 2023 suggests
regular test/medical checkups, especially for men aged 50 and above.


Former Chairman of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics
of Nigeria, Akinsola Akinde, made this known saying, “All men are at risk to
have prostate cancer. If you get to the age of 50 years, you should do a
routine screening. There is a test that can be done that will help to pick up
the diseases at an early stage. The thing about cancer is that it is usually in
different stages, and if you can pick up cancer at stage one, you can more or
less cure it.”


– Risk factors –

As earlier mentioned, men who are at the age of 50 and above
are at higher risk of prostate cancer. Also, African-American men develop a
high risk of prostate cancer.


Other factors include family background, diet, lifestyle,
race, lack of regular physical activity, amongst others.


The PUNCH in an interview with Assistant Professor in
Clinical and Administrative Sciences, Department of Pharmacy, University of
Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre, Stephenson Cancer Centre in Oklahoma, Dr
Motolani Ogunsanya, in July 2023 reports prostate cancer can lead to a range of
complications, which can vary based on factors such as the stage of the cancer,
the individual’s overall health, and the effectiveness of treatment.


“Prostate cancer can give rise to various complications that
encompass physical, emotional, social, and functional aspects. The nature and
severity of these complications can vary depending on several factors,
including the patient’s age, the stage of cancer at diagnosis and the type of
treatment received. For example, physical complications may involve urinary
issues such as urinary incontinence (inability to control urine flow) or
urinary obstruction (difficulty urinating). Sexual problems like erectile
dysfunction or a decrease in libido can also occur,” Dr. Ogunsanya said.


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