Each year, nearly 3,500 men in Ireland suffer from prostate cancer – one in seven men diagnosed annually. While these numbers are alarming, they are a very treatable form of cancer, especially if detected early.
During the month of November, the Movember campaign aims to encourage men to report on their health status, as early treatment of conditions such as prostate cancer can have a very positive effect.
Tom Hope is a living testimony, as he has discovered that he had prostate cancer through regular routine check-ups and is now being monitored to make sure he stays in control.
"During a yearly visit to my doctor to check my blood pressure, he took blood samples in 2009, which I assumed were part of a normal annual check-up," says the 71-year-old. "But about a week later, he contacted me to say that there are some blood tests and he wants me to see a urologist to have her examined.
"At that point, I did not know what the readings were or what they might mean, but I visited the urologist, who explained what the prostate gland was, what function it had, and what the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) readings were after a jump My doctor was concerned about PSA readings from 2.9 to 4.5, and I felt I should undergo a biopsy to clarify the cause of the increase in PSA, and then I was asked to go to the urologist return and bring my wife. "
Just three years old, the father of three did not expect to have cancer, and had to make the difficult decision of whether to treat him or not, which could lead to side effects.
"During the visit, the consultant informed me that I had low-grade prostate cancer," says the Meath man. "This was a total shock because I did not have any symptoms or problems with my urinary function and was given the opportunity to remove the prostate (which was at risk for incontinence) or active monitoring, which was followed by a blood test six times each Months to monitor my PSA and visit my urologist every six months, and receive a digital rectal exam (DRE) to monitor cancer status.
"I talked to my wife about the options and decided to follow active monitoring because I did not want to risk incontinence, so I could opt for surgery anytime later if I changed my mind when it was absolutely necessary, and I explained my decision for my three grown children.
"But the hardest problem was accepting that I had prostate cancer – I did not do it, I did not drink or smoke and I trained regularly, but it was unlikely I would get into trouble or kill myself."
Kevin O & # 39; Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager of the Irish Cancer Society, says that most men do not die from this disease, but it is still important to be vigilant.
"Most prostate cancers occur early, many grow slowly, and if they happen, they may not show symptoms for many years, and men with early prostate cancer are unlikely to have any symptoms," he says.
"Since prostate cancer usually does not cause any symptoms at an early stage, it is often detected through regular checkups, and if you are over 50, you should consult your doctor every year to conduct an investigation." If you have a family history, you should seek regular check-ups. from the age of 40, as your doctor may check for prostate cancer if you do not have any symptoms, including a digital prostate rectal exam and a special blood test, known as a PSA blood test.
"Although there are many men living with prostate cancer, most men do not die of it – and in most cases, it can be cured or kept under control."
The main treatments for prostate cancer are active monitoring, external radiation therapy, hormone therapy, brachytherapy, surgery, chemotherapy and watchful waiting – and each case is individualized.
"The best treatment depends on a number of factors, including the stage and degree of your cancer (how much your cancer has spread and how fast it is growing), your symptoms, your overall health, your age and yours personal preferences, "says the expert. "And with improvements in treatments, the five-year survival rate of prostate cancer is now over 90%.
"Although urinary tract symptoms in the prostate can be a sign of prostate cancer, they are more often caused by a harmless enlargement of the prostate, which often occurs as you get older."
Tom Hope's prostate cancer was discovered because he was careful to perform routine examinations. He was also diagnosed with a malignant melanoma of the skin, which was caught and treated early for the same reason.
Today, he is healthy and encourages other men to become aware of their body and seek help when they are worried about something. And also participate in routine examinations and learn as much as possible about the health services available to all.
"My oncologist commented that I was fortunate enough to recognize my skin cancer at an early stage because it will only be identified when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body," says Tom, who resigned as Finance Director in 2013 from Barnardo. "Over the years, I have found great consolation and support in meeting and entertaining other men who have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer and lead a normal life 15 years or more after diagnosis.
"I attend the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) Survival Conference every year to keep me informed about the treatment options, so if I have to choose treatment, I'm fully aware of the options available." I became part of their support services to talk to patients referred by the ICS Helpdesk or the Daffodil Centers, and in 2014 I joined the Men Against Cancer (MAC) group, a support group for men suffering from prostate cancer had become part of their heritage and were part of the committee.
"I'm also a member of several other committees and now, nine years later, after two more biopsies, both of which have come back clearly and my PSAs are in the range of 2.7 to 7.3, I am thanks to early detection."
FACTBOX: prostate cancer
⬤ Prostate cancer occurs when the normal cells in the prostate gland change and grow into a mass of cells called the tumor.
⬤ Earlier prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Normally, it only causes symptoms when it has become large enough to disturb the bladder or press the tube through which urine is drained causing problems in urination.
Symptoms These symptoms are referred to as prostate gland symptoms and include slow urinary flow, difficulty starting or stopping the flow, frequent urination, especially at night, painful urination, and the feeling of not completely emptying the bladder.
Cheers In Ireland, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer.
Every year more than 3,300 men contract prostate cancer. This means that one out of seven men diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
⬤ Less common symptoms include low back pain, hips or thighs, problems in maintaining or maintaining an erection, blood in the urine or semen.
⬤ It is important that you visit your family doctor if you have any concerns or if you have any of these symptoms so they can be discussed and assessed.
⬤ For more information, visit cancer.ie or contact the cancer nurse toll-free at 1800 200 700, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit one of the 13 Daffodil centers in hospitals.
Ember Movember works with the Irish Cancer Society and contributes significantly to their prostate cancer programs. The funds will help those suffering from prostate cancer to provide information, support and care as well as financing vital cancer research.
⬤ Visit movember.com
Health & Life