Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among men globally. It is also the leading type of cancer among men in Sub-Saharan Africa. The disease presents the highest mortality rates among men in Africa, Asia, and men of African ancestry on other continents.
It is still not understood why the prevalence of prostate cancer among men of African origin is high. However, several variables are said to be at play. Among them is the lack of knowledge about the disease (causes, signs and symptoms, risk factors, and possible prevention options).
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate Cancer is a disease that affects the prostate gland. The prostate is a gland found below the bladder in the lower abdomen of men. The gland is responsible for the production of a fluid that nourishes and helps transport sperms in semen. For this reason, men with prostate cancer also experience sexual and fertility challenges.
Prostate cancer begins when the cells of the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. In men without prostate cancer, cells grow, live, and die. Instructions stored in Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) are responsible for this cell cycle.
Once changes (mutations) happen to DNA, the cells begin to defy the biological order and grow into a mass of cells (tumours). These rogue cells (malignant) then begin to affect normal cells within the prostate gland. They can also leave the prostate gland to other parts of the body like the lungs and bones. The spread of malignant cells is called metastasis.
What are the causes of Prostate cancer?
The causes of prostate cancer are still not known. However, several factors that affect genetic instructions are associated with prostate cancer. The factors include; exposure to chemicals inherited genetic mutations (genetics), diet and lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise.
Furthermore, several risk factors are associated with prostate cancer. For example, prostate cancer is more prevalent in men above 50 years of age. It is also common in men of African descent just as much as in men who are obese.
Signs and Symptoms
Some types of prostate cancer usually develop gradually and are non-aggressive. These show no signs and symptoms. However, other types of prostate cancers are aggressive and grow fast. According to Mayo Clinic, aggressive prostate cancers show some or all of the following signs and symptoms.
- Trouble urinating.
- Blood in the urine.
- Blood in semen
- Uncontrollable weight loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Frequent urination at night
- Muscle aches
Several treatment options are available for prostate cancer. However, the method of treatment depends on how soon the cancer is detected. For cancers that are still localized, treatment may include radiation and surgery to remove the prostate gland (prostatectomy). In more advanced cancers, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy are treatment options. However, these treatment methods come with complications such as erectile dysfunction and infertility.
Prevention is the best approach to all types of cancers. It is because the scientific community is still working to find a cure for cancers. But until that happens, preventive measures include; keeping a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, monitoring Body Mass Index (BMI), exercising regularly, and visiting your doctor for regular check-ups.
Most men neglect medical check-ups because of affordability and proximity to healthcare facilities. The good news is that Fleri offers good private health insurance plans that men can take advantage of to get covered against prostate cancer. Visit www.joinfleri.com to learn more.