November is Movember month. But behind the challenge of growing a mustache hides an unprecedented awareness for male diseases such as prostate cancer.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a small gland at the base of the bladder. Only men have a prostate gland ; that’s why only men get prostate cancer. The prostate produces the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Moreover the prostate is also responsible for urine control – it can tighten and restrict the flow of urine through the urethra.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer in men, especially in developed countries. About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. For all that, prostate cancer develops mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and prostate cancer is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
Nevertheless, age is not the only one factor. Indeed, a man’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, such as :
- genetics and family history
- lifestyle factors
- other medical conditions
How to detect prostate cancer?
Unfortunately, there are not usually any early warning signs for prostate cancer. Because the growing tumor does not cause pain, the disease can be silent for many years.
One of the key indicators can be an excess of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. Indeed, the prostate secretes its own protein, the PSA. In that way, an excess of this protein in the blood is one of the first signs of prostate cancer. Therefore, a blood test is a good means to detect prostate cancer.
In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause symptoms. To sum up, if symptoms appear, they include problems with urination. These may be:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, sometimes urgently
- Difficulty starting or holding back urination
- Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pressure or pain in the rectum
- Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs
Nevertheless, remember that these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have cancer. Regular screening is the best way to detect it on time; so do not hesitate to see a specialist.
How to fight prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer can evolve, and the difficulty of treatment will depend on the stages of cancer. The stages are determined by the localisation of the cancerous zone. But within a stage, there are different levels according to the sizes of the tumors.
- aStage 0 & 1: Early detection, very limited number of affected cells.
- bStage 2: Beginning of the cancer, the cells starts to grow and spread.
- cStage 3: Advanced cancer, cells affected not just in the zone but also around
- dStage 4: The cancer has spread in other areas of the body.
Prostate cancer, as one of the most common cancer in men, is a cause supported by many associations. The biggest one is the Movember Foundation. The Movember Foundation is the only global charity focused solely on men’s health. Awareness and fundraising activities are run year-round by the Foundation, with the annual Movember campaign being globally recognized for its fun, disruptive approach to fundraising and getting men to take action for their health. During Movember, men are challenged to grow a moustache, and men and women can be physically active and move or host a fundraising event. You can find out more about the foundation and donation opportunities on their website.
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