Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Are enough people having themselves checked?
We recommend all men discuss screening with their doctor from age 50. In general, uptake is poor and we know many men are reluctant to discuss this issue.
Is it true that it only affects older men?
Generally, yes. it is very rare in men under 50. Most cases are diagnosed between age 65-70.
What warning signs should men be aware of when it comes to the prostate area?
Symptoms such as getting up at night to urinate, problems with urine flow (stopping or starting urination) or blood in the urine. These can also be due to benign enlargement of the prostate which is very common, so it’s important not to panic and to discuss things with your doctor.
How treatable is prostate cancer?
There are good treatments available including surgery, radiotherapy and hormonal medication. The big challenge is that not all cases are aggressive or require treatments and much current research is focused on deciding between which men need aggressive therapy and those who can be safely monitored.
What does a prostate check involve?
It will involve a discussion with your doctor, a digital rectal examination and a blood test. Whilst this may sound unpleasant it is very quick, safe and could save your life!
In what circumstances do people get referred and where do you normally send people?
If further investigation or treatment is required, patients would be referred to a urologist. Singapore has excellent specialists with access to the latest treatments including robotic prostate surgery.
Do diet and lifestyle play a part in prostate problems or is it ‘pot luck’?
Prostate cancer is unusual as there are no definitively proven preventable risk factors. There is some evidence to suggest higher rates in those who are overweight or smokers. Increasing age, Afro-Caribbean ethnicity and family history are the main risks.
Dr Neil Forrest
MB ChB (Leeds, UK), MRCGP (UK)