Prostate cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in men in Hong Kong. In 2016 alone, there were 1,912 new cases diagnosed and 410 fatalities reported from this condition. In China, the annual incidence of prostate cancer is as high as 50,000.
Your chances of developing prostate cancer increases with age. In fact, more than a third of men over the age of 50 have some quantity of cancer cells in their prostate. Cancer cells can be found in the prostates of most men who are over the age of 80.
As the life expectancy of the general population increases, the prevalence of prostate cancer is also expected to rise proportionally.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It is a small gland about the size of a walnut.The prostate lies between the penis and bladder, surrounding the urethra. Its function is to produce a thick clear fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen. The prostate is regulated by the hormone testosterone.
With increasing age, the prostate gland often enlarges due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, when abnormal and malignant cells begin to form in the prostate, prostate cancer will develop.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of early stage prostate cancer can be difficult to distinguish from a very common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia:
- Trouble urinating
- Pain or discomfort when passing urine
- Blood in urine
- Needing to urinate more frequently, especially at night
- Weak flow
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Discomfort in the lower back, pelvic area and upper thighs
Please consult your doctor should the above symptoms do not go away over time.
Prostate cancer is commonly diagnosed via health check-ups and blood screening tests. Typical procedures to confirm prostate cancer include:
Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) Test
Digital Rectal Examination
Imaging Tests such as Computed tomography (CT)
As previously mentioned, age is a primary risk factor for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, the prevalence of prostate cancer also increases proportionally amongst our ageing population.
Those who are at high risk of prostate cancer include:
- Age: Prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 50
- Genetic factors: Having a first-degree relative, such as father or brother affected by the condition. The risk if higher again if your relative had prostate cancer at a young age
- Diet: Having a diet high in calories and fat
- Others: If you are obese, smoke or have prostate problems
There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, but you can reduce the risk of developing of prostate cancer by:
- Avoiding excessive consumption of animal fats
- Consuming a plant-based diet
- Increasing daily intake of soy, fresh fruits and vegetables