Don’t die of embarrassment! That is the message to men throughout the Cambridgeshire area to mark Prostate Cancer Awareness Month this month.
It is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer claiming 10,000 lives a year but it seems that many men are still putting off a visit to their doctors for a very quick test that can tell them if they are in the clear or if they need treatment.
And it is this delay that is responsible for many prostate cancer deaths according to Consultant Urologist Tevita Aho.
Now Mr Aho, who practises at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital in Cambridge, is urging everyone to bring the subject into the open in order to encourage men to ‘take the test’.
“There isn’t any point skirting around the subject, the most common test involves a digital examination – that means the doctor feeling inside the man’s back passage – it’s a simple as that! It is common practice for the doctor, usually takes less than a minute, is relatively pain and can save your life – so what are you waiting for!
“Many men are embarrassed by the thought of this and so put off the test. I want people to use Awareness Month to discuss prostate cancer and help men overcome their reluctance to get themselves tested,” he said.
The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown but what is certain is that chances of developing it increase in men over 50 years of age. Although it is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent it is actually less common in men of Asian descent.
Men whose father or brother has been affected by prostate cancer are also at higher risk of being affected themselves.
“A blood test known as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can be the first step to checking for cancer but this can only supply an ‘indicator’ and the truth is a digital examination will most likely be needed afterwards, which might lead to a prostate MRI scan and prostate biopsies” said Mr Aho.
“The problem with the PSA test is that levels can be raised by non-cancerous growths or urinary infections of the prostate. But it is better to be safe than sorry and, if necessary, a follow-up digital examination will then allow doctors to be much more exact in their diagnosis.
“The good news is that, if spotted in time, prostate cancer is very treatable with latest figures showing that 84% of those treated live for 10 years or more after treatment,” Mr Aho added.
Prostate Cancer Facts
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
- Over 44,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that's more than 120 men every day.
- Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer – that's more than 10,500 men every year.
- 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Over 330,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.