Movember Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
This November is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and across Ireland, people are getting involved in Movember. Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. Whether it is growing a moustache or organising an event, it is possible to get involved and raise vital funds for Movember and the 1,250men’s health projects they’ve funded around the world since 2003.
- 1 in 7 Irish men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
- There are more than 30,500 men living with prostate cancer in Ireland alone.
What is the prostate?
- The prostate gland is found only in men and is a small gland (one or more cells that secrete an aqueous fluid) sitting at the base of the bladder.
- Its function is to produce a liquid that mixes with the sperm to make semen. It also produces a protein call Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) which turns semen into liquid.
- PSA can pass into the bloodstream and during a prostate exam your doctor checks your blood’s protein levels (PSA Test).
- If PSA levels are higher than normal, this can indicate prostate cancer, however it could be a less serious condition also.
Common complaints by men who have prostate cancer include:
- Slow urine flow
- Issues starting or stopping urination
- Pain while urinating
- Blood in your urine
- Urinating more often than normal, especially at night
- A feeling that your bladder is not emptying
These symptoms don’t indicate that you have prostate cancer and could be a sign of a more benign issue/condition, e.g. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) harmless growth of the prostate.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when there is a change in the rate of growth of cells in the prostate. This can cause a tumour to develop, which is a mass of these irregular cells.
The rate at which these prostate cancer cells grow can vary in each man. They may not grow at all or very slowly during a man’s lifetime. Some may never develop problems or symptoms. However, there are some that grow rapidly, and treatment may be necessary to prevent the spread of the cancer cells outside the prostate (metastasis).
Prostate cancer is usually detected in its early stages or what they call localised prostate cancer. The cancer often can’t be felt with a physical examination; however, a PSA Test will often aid your doctor in suspecting prostate cancer. Later stages include Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer (spread of cancer to surrounding tissues of prostate) and Advanced Prostate Cancer (spread of cancer cells beyond the prostate and surrounding tissues).
Treatment – treatment can vary depending on the stage at which is it discovered. Your doctor may prefer no treatment at present and proceed with active surveillance in the early stages and keep an eye on the cancer. With later stages, treatment can include hormone therapy, radiotherapy or surgery.
Age – risk increases as you get older. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer are over the age of 50.
Family History – Men whose fathers or brothers have had prostate cancer are at an increased risk.
Race – African American and African Caribbean men are more likely to get prostate cancer.
Diet – Men who eat lots of red meat or high-fat dairy products and not enough green vegetables have a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Lowering your risk
- Being physically active – getting enough exercise reduces your risk of developing most forms of cancer, not only prostate. 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is recommended.
- Being a healthy weight – making sure you’re the correct body weight for your age and height is a key factor in cancer prevention
- Get screened – if you feel any of the above symptoms and are worries it could be linked to prostate cancer, do not hesitate to go to your doctor and ask about a prostate screening. Early detection gives you the best chance in fighting off the cancer.
Having prostate cancer can affect not only you but your loved ones too, so it’s important to know where to go for support. The Irish Cancer Society has lots of resources to support those in need. Go to their website today to find more information on the help and support available to prostate cancer patients today.
As stated above, Movember is the leading charity in the world focussed on changing the face of men’s health (not only prostate cancer). By 2030, they aim to halve the number of men dying from prostate cancer and halve the number going through serious treatment for prostate cancer too.
How will they do this? At present, they have a multi-faceted plan of attack for dealing with the situation head on. From helping men to act early and educating men about the symptoms to tackling the biology of prostate cancer and providing more affordable treatment options.
How will can do this? They can achieve these aims through your help and the help of many more who give donations and participate in Movember this November. So, if that means organising a bake sale in your place of work, growing out your moustache or running a 10k, it doesn’t matter. Go to https://ie.movember.com/ to learn more about how to organise events and donate.