by Dr Jamal Fitzpatrick Milton Cato Memorial Hospital
What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate gland serves the function of providing nutrients and a liquid medium for sperm during the reproductive process. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in middle aged and elderly men excluding cancers relating to the skin. Due to the development of early detection measures, prostate cancer can now be discovered while it is still in its early stages and with treatments leading to a high percentage of remission. It is therefore of great interest to the public to encourage men over the age of 55 to ask their doctor about screening for prostate cancer.
This is especially advisable if they have a close relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
How does prostate cancer affect the human body?
Unfortunately, early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. For that reason, it is recommended that males over the age of 55 make an informed decision to seek out screening tests despite feeling well. In later stages of prostate cancer, men have problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night. Men can also have pain in the hips and back along with weakness or numbness in the legs or feet. If you are experiencing these symptoms or have a loved one complaining of these symptoms, then I encourage you or your loved
one to seek medical attention.
How do you get tested for prostate cancer?
The two most prominent test are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE). The Digital Rectal exam is a physical maneuver in which the doctor uses his or her gloved, lubricated finger is inserted into your rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate that might be cancer. It yields the best results when the exam is done by the same medical provider as a yearly exam.
The PSA is a blood test that evaluates the amount of a specific protein released by the prostate gland. This test gives valuable information about the state of the prostate, but decisions are best made when there is more than one test result over time. There is debate in the medical community about how best to interpret the data due to concerns of modern medicine overly diagnosing and treating cases of slow growing prostate cancer. However most medical governing bodies in the US and Europe have concluded that screening tests should be given to males of African descent over the age of 55 with a family history of prostate cancer.
For more information on prostate cancer, please contact your local medical professional. The SVG Medical Association invites the public to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer by participating in our Tug Of War Competition on Saturday 29th and our Pink Cap City Walk on Friday October 12t to highlight awareness about Breast Cancer..