Prostate Cancer – Early detection and cure

Incidences of prostate cancer have been increasing in India over the last couple of decades.  According the research 7 out of every 100,000 men get diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.  However, early detection can lead to close to 100% recovery.  So here is a quick look at the prostate and how one can detect cancer early and make a full recovery.

What is the prostate ?
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system. It is about the size of a walnut and is responsible for the production of the fluid that sperms travel in. It is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder and wraps around the urethra.

Who is at risk of getting prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is still relatively rare in India ( 7 out of every 100,000 get it) compared to developed countries such as the US ( 85 out of every 100,000). However, incidences of prostate cancer, both in India and among Indian men abroad have been steadily increasing and it is important to be aware of it so as to detect it early.  Incidences of prostate cancer are high among

1. Older men  – Typically men over the age of 60 are at risk.
2. Smokers
3. Men with family history of prostate cancer
4. Men who are obese, undertake very little physical activity and have a high intake of fatty foods.

Early stages, prostate cancer can be asymptomatic.  So it is good to have periodic prostate examinations done once you cross the age of 60.  However, look out for the following signs anyway:

1. Aching pains in genitals, lower abdomen and lower back.
2. Problems with sexual function
3. Painful, frequent, urgent urination
4. Slow urine stream and urination
5. Blood in urine
6. Loss of energy
7. Persistent swelling of legs
8. Hard growth on prostate
9. Enlarged lymph nodes.
10. Pain in the back, spine, hip or ribs.

The prostate check is a relatively easy and painless process.  The doctor will do a rectal examination by inserting a lubricated finger through the rectum and feel for enlargements, lumps and tenderness of the prostate.  The entire process will take less than a couple of minutes.

Post detection
If prostate cancer is detected, there are several procedures from radical prostatectomy (complete removal) to non-invasive procedures that can result in complete remission.  Your doctor would be the best person to suggest the way forward.

Bottom line
If you are a male over 60, every year as part of your regular medical checks, get your prostate examination done too.  Early detection can help you lead a long, active and healthy life.

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