September holds a unique significance as it brings attention to a widespread issue that affects men globally – prostate cancer. Notably, prostate cancer ranks as the third most common cancer in Malaysia, impacting around 1 in every 117 men, following lung and colorectal cancers. This cancer primarily targets the prostate glands responsible for fluid production in men. According to a study, the 5-year survival rate in Malaysia is approximately 77.8%. As men age, the likelihood of developing this type of cancer increases. It’s crucial for men to be conscious of this potential health issue that could affect them.
What are the symptoms?
- Weak urine flow: Reduced force or pressure during urination, possibly accompanied by a longer time needed to empty the bladder fully.
- Have difficulty urinating: Struggling to urinate or feeling like your bladder isn’t empty despite your efforts can be concerning. Similarly, having a strong urge to urinate but passing only a small amount of urine should be addressed.
- Frequent urination, especially at night: If you make more trips to the bathroom than usual, particularly during the nighttime, it could indicate potential prostate problems.
- Blood in the urine or semen: The presence of blood in the urine (hematuria) or semen (hematospermia) can be alarming and should not be ignored. While it can indicate various issues, including infections or inflammation, it may also be associated with prostate cancer.
- Burning and pain sensation during urination: Discomfort or pain during urination, described as a burning sensation, might signal urinary tract problems or inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis).
What are the tests?
Two standard tests serve as valuable tools in detecting potential prostate issues early on:
1) Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test: This is a simple blood test that measures the level of a protein produced by the prostate gland. However, the PSA test alone cannot determine the cause of abnormal PSA levels. Therefore, if your PSA levels are elevated, further tests may be necessary to identify the underlying reason for the elevation.
2) Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): In this procedure, a doctor gently inserts a finger into the rectum and presses on the rectal wall to feel for any abnormal areas on the surface of the prostate gland.
If prostate cancer is suspected, additional tests are required to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cancer stage. Two common other tests include:
- Biopsy: This procedure involves taking a small sample of prostate tissue, which is then examined under a microscope to identify the presence of cancer cells.
- Imaging test: Various imaging techniques, such as ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, or bone scans, may be used to visualize the prostate and surrounding tissues, detecting abnormal growth and evaluating cancer spread.
Awareness of prostate cancer prevalence and early detection is crucial for better management and improved outcomes for those affected. Men, especially, must be vigilant about the symptoms and signs and should consider yearly medical checkups to avoid late detection. We can raise awareness, advocate for early detection, and share information about this cancer with others. This September, let’s come together to act and support those battling prostate cancer.
Looking for expert advice on prostate health?
Check out this link(https://www.bookdoc.com/search-book/result?specialty=urology) to find experienced urologists to address your concerns and provide personalized recommendations.