What is prostate cancer?
The prostate gland is a small doughnut-shaped gland that sits at the base of the bladder in men, surrounding the urethra or urine passage as it emerges from the bladder. The gland produces seminal fluid, the main component of semen. It can become enlarged with age, and even turn cancerous.
Why should we screen for prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It gets more common after the age of 50, and the sad thing is that it is a very treatable in the early stages, but many men are reluctant to have screening of any kind.
How do we screen for prostate cancer?
Your doctor will speak to you about your past medical history, any urinary problems (such poor urine stream and difficulty emptying the bladder) and ask about any family history of cancer, especially of prostate cancer. An examination will include a digital rectal examination (to check the size of the prostate) and a blood test. It does sound uncomfortable, but this screen is quick, safe and can save your life!
What happens after prostate screening?
The Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA blood test result is reviewed. This number can be raised in early prostate cancer, but it can also be raised in infection or inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), recent ejaculation and even excessive bicycle riding! Any raised PSA result needs to be followed up by your doctor. They may also make a referral to a Urologist for further checks.
What can I do to prevent prostate cancer?
There are studies suggesting smoking and obesity are lifestyle risk factors. However, the main risk factors for prostate cancer are still age, family history of prostate cancer and Afro-Caribbean ethnicity. Screening remains the best protection against prostate cancer!
Dr. Dex Khor graduated from University College London in 1999 and later obtained Membership of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Dr Dex worked in UK Paediatric wards before returning to Singapore. Dr Dex has also worked in KK children’s hospital. Dr Dex is a member of the Society for Men’s Health, Singapore and is fluent in Mandarin he is based at IMC Katong.