Prostate & Testicular Cancer: Causes, Effects & Treatment By Dr. Rabii Madi
This month is Movember, an annual global effort promoting the awareness and discussion of men's health issues, iconically supported through the growth of mustaches throughout November. Doctor Rabii Madi, Urologic Oncologist, is here to educate you on prostate and testicular cancer, their causes, effects, and the best preventive measures you can take.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland in the male reproductive system. It sits directly below the bladder, inside the groin. The male hormone testosterone controls how the prostate functions. The prostate helps make some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm from the testicles when the man ejaculates.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting adult men. Out of 100 men, 13 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and unfortunately, three will die from it. However, prostate cancer if diagnosed at an early stage is highly curable. “We recommend that every man, starting at the age of fifty until the age of seventy, should do screening for prostate cancer,” says Dr. Madi.
The screening is very easy and it can be done in two ways. The first is a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and the second is a digital rectal exam (DRE) that should be done on a yearly basis.
If a man has a family history of prostate cancer - his father, brother, or any male blood relative has prostate cancer, he is more prone to develop this cancer at an earlier stage at 45 years old and sometimes even at 30 years old. Screening leads to early detection, which leads to early treatment, and early treatment means the disease can be cured.
“My message to every man, if you are 50 or up, you should start screening for cancer,” advises Dr. Madi, “remember that prostate cancer is asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) at an early stage. The enlargement of the prostate may be confused with the benign enlargement of the gland that happens to men starting at the age of 45 or 50.” The symptoms of prostate cancer may be confused with symptoms of other diseases which is why yearly screenings are the best preventative measure you can take to lower your risks.
If diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is no need to panic. There are so many options of treatment and they are very effective assures Dr. Madi. in some cases, treatment is not even needed. Because prostate cancer often grows very slowly, some men (especially those who are older or have other serious health problems) who have it might never need treatment. Instead, their doctors may recommend observation (sometimes called watchful waiting) or active surveillance.
If the urologist and patient decide to treat instead, there is a spectrum of treatments, the most effective and sought-out one is surgery compared to radiation, freezing or Cryotherapy.
Another topic to highlight during Movember the men’s health month is Testicular Cancer.
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction.
Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. But testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 40. Testicular cancer is highly treatable, even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle.
Screening for testicular cancer is very easy. “I encourage every young man to self-examine himself every month for any hardness, lumps in the testicles or groin area, swelling of the testicles; and to visit a doctor if these signs or symptoms last longer than two weeks” urges Dr. Madi.
How to prevent the development of Prostate or Testicular Cancer?
Different factors cause different types of cancer. Researchers continue to look into what factors cause prostate cancer, including ways to prevent it. Although there is no proven way to completely prevent prostate cancer, you may be able to lower your risk. Consult your doctors for more information about your personal risk of cancer.
There is not enough information right now to make clear recommendations about the exact role eating behaviors play in prostate cancer. However, dietary changes have been linked to changes in the body such as a boost in immunity. A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and legumes, such as beans and peas, may lower the risk of prostate cancer. It is unclear which nutrients are directly responsible. Although lycopene, a nutrient found in tomatoes and other vegetables, has been shown to be associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. So make sure to check our Cancer-Fighting collection on our website to give yourself a fighting chance against this silent killer!
Spread awareness about men’s health this November.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.