Every year November is celebrated as an awareness month for men’s health issues and one of the major problems men face worldwide is Prostate Cancer. Even though this is a major health hazard facing men, there seems to be not enough awareness about this even among men. One major reason is the focus on women-related issues in media and ignoring men’s issues. Even though Movember is getting momentum in different parts of the world, men continue to ignore their health issues. So, it is important for us to know how to detect early symptoms of prostate cancer and get cured.
The Prostate Gland
The Prostate gland is located under your bladder and near the rectum. It is of the size of a Walnut and this gland produces a seminal fluid that nourishes your semen.
The urethra, which is a thin fibromuscular tube that carries urine, runs through the Prostate Gland. So, urethra carries both, the urine and the fluid that nourishes your sperm.
Prostate Gland Conditions
Even though we talk mostly about Prostate cancer, it is not the only health hazard that the gland can pose for us.
Prostatitis – Inflammation of the prostate gland due to infection and this can be cured by medicine.
Enlarged Prostate – Medically this is known as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy or BPH and is treated either by medicine or surgery.
Prostate Cancer – When the gland becomes cancerous it gets bulged and can sometimes spread to other organs of the body.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
If you want to detect your prostate cancer early you need to look out for the following symptoms –
- Trouble while urinating
- Decreased force of the urine stream
- Blood in semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Pain in your bones
- Erectile dysfunction
Now you need to understand while any one or a combination of symptoms may be the symptom of your prostate cancer, these may also be symptoms of other health conditions. Proper medical tests can confirm this condition.
What Causes Prostate Cancer
Scientists are still not sure about the correct cause of Prostate Cancer even though the American Cancer Society says that it is the DNA mutation that causes Prostate cancer. This condition helps Oncogenes grow and suppress the tumour suppressor genes.
Scientists also believe that these DNA changes can also be inherited from parents.
The Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Even though scientists have given the scientific reason for DNA mutation, like a normal person it is important to understand the habits that cause Prostate Cancer in men.
American Cancer Society lists the following as the risk factors –
- Family History
- Chemical Exposure
- Sexually transmitted infections
Let’s discuss a few of these risk factors so that you can be safe from these.
Prostate Cancer can happen after 40 years of age, but after 50, the chances are increased. So, it is important to be watchful for symptoms and get diagnosed in time.
The African-American and Caribbean men of African Ancestry are more prone to this disease. However, Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men are less prone to this condition.
Men from North America, NW Europe, Australia and the Caribbean Islands are more prone to different prostate conditions. It is less common in Asia, Central and Southern America.
Even though the reasons behind the race and geography implications are not clear to the scientists, they believe lifestyle may be one important factor here.
Diet is another factor that may cause this health hazard in men. People eating more meat and calcium-based food are found to be prone to Prostate Cancer. These people who eat fewer fruits and vegetables are at a higher risk of prostate cancer than someone with a balanced diet.
Smoking & Obesity
Surprisingly enough smoking and obesity are not found to be related very highly to the chances of getting prostate cancer. Obesity, however, was found to have caused faster spreading prostate cancer which is more harmful than the normal one.
Prostate Cancer in Countries
A report of Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi researchers have shown Prostate Cancer as the leading cause of cancer in the male population. A Population-Based Cancer Registry of different cities showed Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi as the top cities of this epidemic. It was also found that 6.7% male population of Bangalore, 5.2% in Bhopal, 5.9% of Chennai, 6.8% each of Delhi and Mumbai were suffering from Prostate Cancer between 2008-2011.
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The trend of Prostate Cancer over time –
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Per the data available on the World Cancer Research Fund website of The American Institute of Cancer Research, France Ireland and Barbados held the top three positions in terms of rate of prostate cancer affected the population in 2018. The list of top 20 countries also included developed countries like Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, UK and Switzerland. There was no Asian country in their list of the top 20 countries.
Even though Prostate Cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer in men, the awareness level is very low. There is hardly any funding program available at different national and international levels. The very fact the researchers are still not sure about the impact of various risk factor like diet, smoking etc on Prostate cancer indicates that there needs more research in this area. It is indeed a pity that the patriarchal societies don’t care for their male population.
- Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer in India – Shalu Jain, Sunita Saxena and Anup Kumar – National Institute of Pathology (ICMR), and Dept of Urology – Safdarjung Hospital, 2014
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