Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Prostate cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths in the world and accounts for around 15% of all cancers in males, and yet relatively little is known about it. What is known is that it can be cured if detected in time, which is why health awareness initiatives such as Movember* is so important for raising awareness and saving lives.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Usually prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Prostate cancer that’s detected early — when it’s still confined to the prostate gland — has a better chance of successful treatment.
What are the Symptoms?
Early prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms.
Advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include:
- frequent urination
- pain while urinating
- blood in the urine or semen
- a weak stream
- pain in the back or pelvis
- weak legs or feet.
More widespread disease often spreads to the bones and causes pain or unexplained weight loss and fatigue.
How is Prostate Cancer Detected?
There is no single test to detect prostate cancer. The two most common tests are the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal examination (DRE).
The PSA test measures the level of PSA in your blood. It does not specifically test for cancer. Virtually all PSA is produced by the prostate gland. The normal range depends on your age. A PSA above the typical range may indicate the possibility of prostate cancer. However, two-thirds of cases of elevated PSA are due to noncancerous conditions such as prostatitis and BPH.
A DRE is generally conducted by a urologist to feel the prostate. While DRE is no longer recommended as a routine test for men who do not have symptoms of prostate cancer, it may be used to check for any changes in the prostate before doing a biopsy.
If either of these tests suggests an abnormality, other tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer, usually a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) biopsy.
In 2003, two mates were having a quiet beer when they began to joke about bringing the moustache back.
Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer.
To see their full story you can head to www.au.movember.com
Support Services and Useful Links
Australian Prostate Cancer Collaboration
08 8204 7672
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
1800 22 00 99
1300 303 878