Blue September, the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s annual awareness campaign, is now beginning again.
And with 10% of all Kiwi men affected by the cancer, it’s well worth spreading the word!
Blokes Be Aware
So. What is a prostate, exactly?
The prostate gland resides beneath the bladder, and is roughly about the size of a walnut. Its main purpose is to produce enough seminal fluid to nourish and protect sperm on their hunt for an egg to fertilize.
To work properly, the prostate requires a variety Testosterones, male hormones. Dihydrotestosterone is particularly important for the regulation of the Prostate.
As You Age
As men age, they often find they need to go to the bathroom more and more often. Sometimes urine flow slows down too, with discomfort or even pain in some cases.
Most of the time the cause of this is simply the prostate gland getting bigger–and as a result, putting increasing pressure on the bladder.
By the time men hit forty, a degree of prostate enlargement is relatively common. By age eighty more than 90% of men will be affected to an extent. In fact, BPH is so common that some experts have said that all men’s prostates will eventually enlarge if they live long enough.
Don’t be complacent though. In some cases, there is a chance of a cancer developing.
Of course just because you need to pee more often, doesn’t mean you have cancer! However if any of the following warning signs do apply to you, it might be an idea to have a check-up with the doctor, just to make sure. The good news is that if caught early treatment for prostate cancer is very effective.
- Difficulty peeing with pressure—urine flow is weak or dribbles
- Difficulty starting peeing or stop-start peeing
- Straining to pee
- Strong, sudden urges to pee, and general increased urgency
- Discomfort or burning sensations when you pee
- Peeing more often than normal
- Feeling that your bladder is still full after peeing
- Sleep increasingly disturbed at night by multiple trips to the toilet
- Blood in urine or semen
It’s important to note though: prostate cancer will often develop without any warning signs or symptoms.
The exact causes of prostate cancer are not yet known. However, medical science is now aware of four major risk factors:
- Being Overweight. This is a significant risk factor for all cancers in general
- The Western Diet. Basically, a diet high in red meat and saturated fat is bad for you. Countries that tend to eat less of these foods have markedly lower levels of prostate cancer.
- Age. The risk of prostate cancer starts to increasing significantly after the age of forty. Not much you can do about this one though!
- Family History. The more grandfathers, uncles and brothers who’ve had prostate cancer, the higher your personal risk. If they had it at a younger age the risk increases further.
Take Action—PSA Tests
Orthodox medical science typically favours PSA tests (PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen) as an early warning screening tool. Be aware though, that there is growing evidence that the tests may not deliver as they purport to, with original PSA discoverer Dr. Richard Ablin one of the most vocal critics of the PSA test as a screening tool.
The PSA test measures PSA levels in the blood stream. A raised PSA level does not necessarily indicate cancer however; in fact most of the time it merely indicates inflammation or BPH, neither of which are malignant.
To Donate to the Blue September Campaign:
- Visit www.prostate.org.nz
- Call 0800 4 PROSTATE (0800 44 77678)
- Or else you can send cheques, payable to ‘Prostate Cancer Foundation’ to:
PO BOX 11006