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Understand the facts about prostate cancer




Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in South African men.


* Prostate cancer develops when normal cells in the prostate become abnormal and begin to grow out of control, forming a tumor or mass. The exact reason why normal cells become abnormal is unknown. If left untreated, these cells will continue to grow out of control and spread to other parts of the body.

* Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in South African men.

* Prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 50 and increases in risk as they get older.

* Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40.

* Prostate cancer is not as aggressive as other cancers. If this slow-growing cancer is properly diagnosed, treated, and managed, survival will be high.


* Family history: Having a father or sibling with prostate cancer increases the risk.

* Age: The older you are, the higher the risk.

* Diet: A diet high in unsaturated animal fats may increase the risk.


Prostate cancer grows slowly and can be asymptomatic for several years.

The main signs are:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Weak or slow urination and dribbling
  • Burning urination
  • Urine and semen blood
  • Difficulty of erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Lower back, thighs, lower back pain and stiffness

Many of these symptoms are also associated with non-cancerous benign prostatic hyperplasia (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.


* Rectal finger examination (DRE)

The doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall to check for hard or lumpy areas.

* PSA blood test

Blood tests determine the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein specifically produced by prostate cells, and elevated levels may indicate that it is more likely to develop cancer.


A biopsy is done to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer based on the results of the DRE and PSA levels of the blood test. During a biopsy, a needle is used to take a tissue sample and examine it by a pathologist.


Treatment of prostate cancer varies from patient to patient based on age, risk factors, stage, and grade. Options include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.

* Source:


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