Prostate cancer, the third leading cancer affecting Indian males after lung and mouth cancer, accounts for up to 7% of all cancer afflictions in India. Given that the cases of prostate cancer have escalated by over 220% since 1990.
India’s National Cancer Registry Programme has estimated that such cases are expected to double by 2020.
The number of cases registered in India are higher thanother countries in Asia and Africa but lower than USA and UK. Almost 8,000 men in India are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.
Early detention is a must
In a conference on ‘Even at 50, why should your man change due to prostate conditions’ for the World Prostrate Health Awareness Month, Dr. Ranjan Dey, Associate Professor, R. G. Kar Medical College, said, “Indian men may be genetically more predisposed for developing prostate cancer. Therefore, men over the age of 50 should go for regular check-ups to avoid aggressive enlargement of the gland. Benign Prostratic Hyperplasia (BPH), which is caused by the enlargement of the prostate gland, affects the lower urinary tract. It is common among men after a certain age and causes urinary retention.”
According to a study by the American Urological Association, by the age of 60, more than 50% of men develop BPH and by 85, almost 90% have it. Most common surgical treatment to cure enlarged prostate includes transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP), transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), laser surgery and prostatectomy. BPH can also be easily treated with proper medication and surveillance. These treatments may have possible side effects pertaining to erection, decreased sexual desire, and reduced amount of semen. The choice of treatment may vary depending on the patient’s medical history, genetic factors, life style, dietary practices among others.
Dr. Ranjan Dey pointed out, “Prostate cancer detected at an initial stage is often found to be curable. Prostrate surgery, active surveillance and medication generally at the early stages have positive outcomes.” Dr. Srinivas Narayan, consulting urologist, Fortis, said, “The screening process is very simple and effective. It can be diagnosed by a simple blood test.”
The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level, which is an enzyme secreted by the prostate gland may help to distinguish between BPH and prostate cancer and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) helps to determine the prostate’s approximate size and presence of unusual growths. However, several recent studies have shown that PSA levels increase naturally with age and can be raised by benign prostate conditions, caused by infections or even medication. The results of PSA test as a gold standard for determining prostate health continues to be highly debated.
Unfortunately, it is lack of awareness and negligence that continues to be a major concern. Most studies reveal that men are reluctant to undergo screening for BPH and are mostly diagnosed in terminal stages. This problem is further aggravated by improper lifestyle, eating, smoking, and drinking.