While most men are aware that prostate cancer exists, it remains a largely undiscussed disease. The fact remains, however, that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and is actually more widespread than breast cancer in women. MakatiMed, a top hospital in the Philippines, answers questions about prostate cancer.
What are the symptoms? Signs of prostate cancer include trouble urinating, a weaker flow of urine, erectile dysfunction, blood in the urine or semen, discomfort in the pelvic area, bone pain, and loss of appetite. According to Jaime S.D. Songco, MD of MakatiMed’s Urologic Oncology Section, it is quite common that men don’t exhibit any symptoms during the early stages of the disease, making routine check-ups like digital rectal exams (DRE) and prostrate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests all the more important. Dr. Songco also reminds men that “if they have a male relative with prostrate cancer the chances of them getting the disease are doubled.”
At what age does prostrate cancer become a serious risk? 65% of men with prostrate cancer are diagnosed at age 65 or older. “However,” he clarifies, “that means that the rest of the cases are younger patients, so prostrate cancer can very much affect men below 65. When it is diagnosed at an earlier age, the disease is usually more aggressive and therefore more urgent.”
How can I prevent prostrate cancer? Dr. Songco recommends a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables. “Avoid fatty food and choose natural sources of vitamins over supplements,” he says. “Research suggests diets high in meat and high-fat dairy may increase the risk of prostrate cancer.” Dr. Songco also tells his patients to exercise regularly, because obese men are at greater risk of an advanced form of prostrate cancer that is more difficult to treat.
What are the chances of being cancer-free after getting diagnosed? There is actually close to a 100% rate of being declared cancer-free, 5 years after treatment. “The odds against prostrate cancer have been steadily increasing over the years, making a promising future,” says Dr. Songco. “A study conducted in 2017 stated that only about 4% of newly diagnosed prostate cancers spread to other organs. Of course, early diagnosis is still key, as it further increases your chances of being declared cancer-free.”
Will sex life be compromised by prostate cancer? One of the primary concerns many men have about prostate cancer treatment is that it will affect their virility. According to Dr. Songco, “doctors can prescribe medications such sildenafil citrate to ensure that men can still maintain an active sex life while living with prostrate cancer.” In fact, men can still have children even if their prostrate is removed—they just need to go through artificial insemination to harvest their sperm.
If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms, have a family history of prostate cancer you want to discuss, or simply want to know more about the disease, visit MakatiMed for a thorough and personal consultation.
For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.8888 999, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph