Whenever we see pink ribbons used to represent advocacies for women, breast cancer instantly comes into mind due to the multitude of campaigns aimed to spread awareness about the most common cancer in women. However, while women are now more open the topic, men tend to shy away from conversations about an undiscussed disease that target their population.
While most men are aware that prostate cancer exists, it remains largely undiscussed. 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. According to MakatiMed, one of the top hospitals in the Philippines, here are the answers to men’s top 5 questions about prostate cancer:
1.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 prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests all the more important. Dr. Songco also reminds men that “if they have a male relative with prostate cancer, the chances of them getting the disease are doubled.”
2. At what age does prostate cancer become a serious risk?
65% of men with prostate cancer are diagnosed at age 65 or older.
“However, that means that the rest of the cases are younger patients, so prostate 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,” he clarifies.
3. How can I prevent prostate 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 prostate cancer.”
Dr. Songco also reminds his patients to exercise regularly, because obese men are at greater risk of an advanced form of prostate cancer that is more difficult to treat.
4. 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 prostate 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.”
5. 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 prostate 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.
Got more questions or in need of a checkup? Contact MakatiMed On-Call via:
Landline: (02)888- 8999