Quick facts about prostate cancer

Quick facts about prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It is the most common cancer in men.
NB: Regular screening is the best way to detect Prostate Cancer in good time. There are usually no symptoms during the early stages of prostate cancer. However, if symptoms do appear, they usually involve one or more of the following:

1. frequent urges to urinate, including at night
2. difficulty commencing and maintaining urination
3. blood in the urine
4. painful urination and, less commonly, ejaculation
5. difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection

Advanced prostate cancer can involve the following symptoms:

  •  bone pain, often in the spine, femur, pelvis, or ribs
  •  bone fractures

If the cancer spreads to the spine and compresses the spinal cord, there may be:

  • leg weakness
  • urinary incontinence
  • faecal incontinence
  • sexual dysfunction

Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age.
  • Race. For reasons not yet determined, black men carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
  • Family history. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
  • Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced diseases that are more difficult to treat. Men must fight obesity at all cost.

Next week we will look into ways of reducing one’s risk of getting prostate cancer.

Retšelisitsoe Nkhahle is a Mosotho pharmacist based in Botswana. She is pursuing an Msc.

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