Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Below the moustache: Early detection of prostate cancer can save lives

Rouge Valley Health System’s urologists to men: focus below the moustache

By Dr. Jeffrey Spodek, Chief of Urology,
Rouge Valley Health System 

Men’s health is the focus in November, thanks to the international prostate awareness movement that has affectionately renamed the month Movember.  My fellow Rouge Valley Health System urologists and I would like to remind everyone that while it’s fun to change up their look with a bit of facial hair, it’s more important to focus on what is way, way below the moustache.

Prostate cancer is insidious because there are usually few symptoms in the early stages. That’s because the prostate is situated deep within the pelvis so it can get bigger before any symptoms become evident. In the absence of symptoms, men assume all is well. Of the 23,600 Ontario men diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014, about one-quarter (6,000) will die from the disease , largely because it was not diagnosed early enough.

Early detection gives patients a better chance of beating the disease that has become one of Canada’s leading health concerns for men. While Rouge Valley urologists are well equipped to perform the required prostate cancer surgery and treatment, our primary goal as health care professionals, is to help stop cancer before it reaches the advanced stages.

There are several ways physicians diagnose prostate cancer. Blood tests can show overall prostate performance and check for any abnormalities. PSA test measures the levels of prostate-specific antigen, which could be a marker for prostate cancer. One of the most effective methods – albeit, perhaps the most dreaded by our patients and the butt of many jokes – is the DRE, digital rectal examination. While a DRE may be unpleasant momentarily, our view is those few minutes could and do save lives.

One in seven Canadian men will be diagnosed with the disease, a staggering number that is expected to climb to one in four within the decade . Translated locally, this means about one-third of the surgeries my colleagues and I now perform are to treat prostate cancer, and this percentage and prevalence are increasing. We encourage men to know the risks and get in tune with their body so they can recognize even the slightest symptom.

Prostate cancer risk factors

Rouge Valley urologists encourage men to understand the risk factors of prostate cancer , which include:
Age – men 50+ are at greater risk;
Ethnicity – men of African and Caribbean descent are at higher risk;
Family history of prostate cancer;
Diet – high fat diets contribute to risk;
Weight – men who are overweight are at greater risk.

Some of these risk factors are modifiable so, as a first line of defence, we want men to work with their family doctors to maintain their health in an effort to guard against the disease.

A stiff upper lip, even if covered by a stylish ‘stache, won’t protect men against prostate cancer. Awareness and personal attention will. Rouge Valley urologists want to give all men the greatest fighting chance to live cancer free.

Next week Below the Moustache will cover prostate-friendly foods that should be part of every man’s diet.

1 comment:

Bruce Dixon said...

So, normally at the age of 50, men have a greater chance at risk of prostate cancer and being overweight too, which many men nowadays are not aware. Good thing you shared this post to enlighten us, especially the patients taking their holistic treatment to cancer. Early detection can save lives as well as knowing the risk factors of prostate cancer.