Over the years, conversations around cancer have increased tremendously. More people are testing positive for cancer, though in the advanced stages when the prognosis is poor. The increased awareness created around this topic is probably due to the high mortality cases experienced that can be lowered by proper prevention and management. One of the several cancers reducing the quality of life in men is prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth is observed in the prostate, a small walnut-sized gland responsible for producing seminal fluids that nourish and transport sperms. Causes are unknown; however, men above 50 years, with a family history of the disease, and for reasons not established, the African population is more at risk of developing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, early cancer is asymptomatic, but symptoms show in advanced stages.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
- Frequent urination at night
- Burning sensation or pain when passing urine
- Interrupted urine flow
- Leaking urine
- Discomfort when sitting because of an enlarged prostate
- Incomplete voiding of the bladder after urination
When cancer breaks out from the prostate gland, rapid weight loss, erectile dysfunction, blood in urine and semen, and back or pelvic pains occur. Some men rarely see their medical practitioners nor talk about their conditions. Consequently, there is a need to intensify screening at the onset of the mentioned manifestations or when they hit the fiftieth mark for early diagnosis.
The fatality cases are worrying with at least one in eight men over 50 years will get the disease. While survival rates are high, one man dies every hour. Further, the Kenyan Ministry of Health Cancer Guidelines states that prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting men with at least 1000 incidences while deaths stand at around 850 cases annually.
Despite the horrifying figures, most men above 50 years are unaware of prostate cancer and how to protect themselves. Other challenges experienced in the effort to curb the disease are the high cost of screening and treatment that is unaffordable to most, and only a handful of the health facilities can carry out the test disadvantaging most men due to locality. Regardless of the government’s bid to reduce treatment costs through the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), much ought to be done to ensure treatment is accessible to all.
To top the government’s effort, the individual has to play their role as well. Cease alcohol consumption, eat a healthy diet, be physically active as this reduces the chance by 30-50%. Maintain a healthy weight, stay sexually active, and increase intake of Vitamin D. Additionally, the spouse should be supportive and encourage the partner to get screened in case of any symptoms.
Our aged men are at risk, and the best way to save them is by ensuring they get screened. If thinking about what to get your favorite man on his fiftieth birthday, take him to the hospital for screening. Not only is this a sign of concern, but also love for his wellbeing.