Sunday, 15 August 2010

Early Detection Of Prostate Cancer Vital For Survival

By Shuhaida Mohd Said

ALOR SETAR, Aug 13 (Bernama) -- One in six men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime according to Kedah Medical Centre (KMC) Consultant Urologist, Dr Murali Mohan.

According to the Urologist, if at a locally confined stage, five years survival rate remains a 100 percent possibility but in cases of metastasis, five years survival rate is only about 35 percent.

Dr Murali said prostate cancer was the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men after lung cancer and those who are over 50 are advised to undergo a medical examination.

"Men always say they are in great shape and do not feel sick, but they are wrong, stop being stubborn and in denial, get tested because early detection of prostate cancer is vital for survival.

"If you live long enough, you will get it. If you have two relatives with prostate cancer, the risk is five times higher and if three or more of your relatives have it, you will definitely get prostate cancer," he told Bernama.

Dr Murali said prostate is a sex gland in men, the size of a walnut and responsible for producing fluid that sperm travels in.

According to Dr Murali it is located in front of the rectum, below the bladder and wraps around the urethra (the passage through which urine drains from the bladder to exit from the penis).

Prostate cancer risk factors are obesity, little physical activity, smoking and high intake of fatty foods, he explained.

He said the symptoms of this killer disease in early stages are aching pains in genital, lower abdomen, lower back and the patient would also have problems with their sexual functions.

The patient would also experience painful, frequent, urgent urination or slow urine stream and retention and sometimes have blood in the urine, he said.

"In advanced stages, patients will lose their energy, suffer persistent swelling in legs and pain in the back, spine, rib or hip.

"They will also have a hard growth on prostate and enlarged lymph nodes," he said.

Dr Murali said, there are three stages in prostate cancer detection; stage one was annual digital rectal checkup whereby a doctor would insert a gloved, lubricated finger into patient's rectum to try and feel for enlargement, lumps and tenderness of the prostate.

Stage two is prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing; the cell activity in prostate produces PSA and higher than average PSA levels in the bloodstream is a sign of abnormal cell multiplication in the prostate.

Meanwhile, stage three is prostate biopsy; a thin needle is inserted into suspect areas and small sections of tissue are retrieved for analysis.

"Stage one and two is the locally confined stage, while stage three is locally advanced and the cell has spread to seminal vesicles and stage four is advanced and the cancer cell has spread to bladder, rectum and spine.

"For stage one and two I normally monitor the growth regularly and if the cells growth accelerates, the procedure is to do surgical removal of the entire prostate," he said.

Dr Murali said other treatments are external beam (for any stage), cryosurgery (reserved for salvage) and hormonal (chemo) therapy for late stages or metastasis.

When diagnosed with prostate cancer, patients are recommended to keep calm, get educated and get a good doctor and talk to him, he said.

"Patients are also advised to talk to others with prostate cancer experiences and undergo an operation at a large urban centre," he said.

To minimize the risks of having prostate cancer, men are advised to have a healthy lifestyle, do regular exercise, eat more vegetables such as broccoli.

Taking supplements such as selenium is also recommended.

Selenium can be found naturally in foods such as nuts, whole grain, cereals or meat and seafood.