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YNF Exclusive: Why Men’s health needs attention too


Nov 07 2017

From time to time men are brought up with ideals like not to cry, not to complain and always show you are strong. This could also be the reason as to why a lot of men have a lazy attitude towards their health. Even amongst general talk, the most conversations lean towards women health and issuers, how much do we talk or know about men’s health?

A recently conducted survey revealed that men would rather talk about sports, current affairs, their jobs, kids etc. and not about health. Women are always advised to get regular screenings and tests done in order to make sure they are healthy, but don’t men need to follow the same?

There is a need to create awareness among men about the various health conditions that could affect them in order to urge them to visit a healthcare professional regularly while getting tested and treated. Urological conditions are rather common in men; they affect a variety of diseases affecting the urinary tract or the reproductive organs. In an exclusive interview with Dr Prasanth Sreedharan Nair, Specialist Urologist at Aster Clinic, Discovery Gardens and Muteena, we delve into one of the most serious urological conditions in men, ‘Prostrate Cancer’.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers among adult men in the UAE. Part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is a small gland located under the bladder in front of the rectum and surrounding the beginning of the urethra. The prostate gland is small, and size and has limited function, like production and secretion of fluid into the semen. However, the prostate gland too can become cancerous.

Just like other forms of cancer, prostate cancer begins when the cells in the prostate gland begin to grow uncontrollably. Individuals with prostate cancer inhibit various urinary issues and symptoms. The symptoms include difficulty in urinating, pain during urination, loss of bladder control, hematuria or blood in urine etc. These are not definitive symptoms that guarantee that a man suffers from prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is not widely discussed given the lack of awareness about it. Men often tend to disregard the symptoms of prostate cancer as signs of a less harmful condition.

There is no definite causative factor of prostate cancer, although there are risk factors identified that increase one’s chances of developing the condition. The associated risk factors are;

• Age - Prostate cancer is predominant in men above 40 years of age. Various studies prove that the incidence of prostate cancer increases with age and nearly 75% of men above 80 years display some evidence of latent disease. It is estimated that in while the incidence of prostate cancer is about 1 in 55 men in the age group 40-60 years, this increases by almost 8 times, to 1 in 7men, in the age group of 60-80 years.[2]

• Family History - Family history of the disease is another major risk factor for prostate cancer, which has a high probability of heritability. This is also supported by epidemiological studies in a Swedish cohort, which indicated familial factors could account about 11.6% of prostate cancer cases and that the risk is much greater for men with brothers suffering from prostate cancers.

• Diet - Consumption of diets low in fat and high in vegetables and plant-based foods have a negative impact on the incidence of prostate cancer according to few epidemiological studies. Thus, a reduced intake of high caloric foods, in particular, fatty foods such as red meat and dairy products, and lowered calcium intake along with adequate intake of vitamin D or exposure to sunlight and lycopene have been suggested to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Treatment of the condition depends on various factors. Treatment methodologies include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy etc. • In most cases, if the cancer has spread around the area, a prostatectomy is performed to remove the prostate. The critical nerves that are nearby and control various functions are left untouched in most cases. Surgery may not be advisable in patients who are very aged and suffer from complex underlying conditions. Some surgeries may also need to be followed by radiation therapy.

• Radiation therapy is the procedure when the cancer has not spread. It is also used to relieve any pain and spread of cancer to the bones.

• The testosterone hormone can aid in the spread of prostate cancer. Hence hormone therapy is used to stop the production of testosterone. This technique is majorly used in treating patients with advanced prostate cancer. In cases where hormone therapy doesn’t show positive results, chemotherapy is the technique of treatment.

The goal of treating prostate cancer is to increase an individual’s chance of survival, for which early diagnosis of the condition is extremely crucial. Men should ensure to get screened for the condition in order to rule out the possibilities of developing it. Men with a history of prostate cancer should also be examined regularly to monitor their PSA levels.

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