He’s now been cancer-free and has resumed work and normal outdoor activities like walking and swimming. Pittman is an exception in the UAE, where the incidence of prostate cancer was second-highest after colorectal cancer.
Men in the UAE and around the world are generally reluctant to undergo regular prostate screening. And this can be traced to a gap in perception and facts. There is also some hesitation and embarrassment for some men since the gland is linked to the genito-urinary system. Treatments for some prostate disorders can affect fertility. Prostate gland removal is viewed as a loss of manhood because of its link to the production of seminal fluid and reproduction.
What’s a prostate gland?
What’s the function of the prostate gland?
What are the most common prostate problems?
Famous men diagnosed with prostate cancer
Former South African President Nelson Mandela
Image Credit: Reuters
Hollywood actor Robert De Niro.
Actor Roger Moore.
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Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York and US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.
Image Credit: AFP
Former US Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Image Credit: AFP
US Senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole.
Image Credit: Supplied
Retired US General and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Image Credit: Reuters
Francois Mitterrand, former president of France.
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
What’s an enlarged prostate condition?
The size of the prostate can vary: a small prostate weighs 20-70 grams, and medium and large prostates can weigh up to 125 grams in typical cases. But after the age of 40, the gland begins to grow. The gland’s size can increase by 4 to 5 times if BRP afflicts a person.
The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but it’s believed to be linked to hormonal changes as a man ages. The balance of hormones in the body changes as one gets older, and this may cause an enlargement of the gland.
Men aged 40 years and older are more likely to develop BRP. A family history of enlarged prostates, medical conditions such as obesity, heart and circulatory disease, and Type 2 diabetes, lack of physical exercise and erectile dysfunction are other factors that raise the risk of BRP.
What’s prostate cancer?
Some prostate cancers can be aggressive, posing a threat to life if it spreads to nearby organs (regional stage). They can also travel through blood vessels or lymph nodes to reach other parts of the body like the bones, and grow as new tumours. It is then called metastatic prostate cancer (distant). [Metastasis is the spread of cancer to new areas of the body through the lymph nodes or blood vessels. A metastatic cancer is one that has spread from its site of origin to other parts of the body.]
What’s the prostate cancer survival rate?
The five-year survival rate (men who live at least five years after diagnosis) is nearly 100 per cent for those with local or regional prostate cancer, American Cancer Society statistics show. For those with metastatic prostate cancer, the five-year survival rate is 31 per cent. The 10-year survival rate for local, regional, and distant prostate cancer combined is 98 per cent. [Note: Survival rates are calculated for diagnosed cases only.]
Why is awareness necessary?
Regular screenings will happen only if the stigmas and misinformation about the gland are removed. And that requires awareness. It will lead more people over 50 to include prostate screening as part of their regular medical check-ups. And that will help early diagnosis.
A survey of 1,400 people (700 men aged 50-70 years, and 700 women) in six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK) and the United States), revealed a disturbing level of ignorance. Urinary problems were identified as a symptom of prostate cancer by 86 per cent of the respondents, but only 1 per cent of the sample size was aware that the disease could be asymptomatic.
What are the early warning signs?
- Dull pain in the lower pelvic area
- A burning sensation or pain during urination.
- Difficulty urinating or trouble starting and stopping urination.
- More frequent urges to urinate at night.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Decreased flow or velocity of the urine stream.
- Traces of blood in the urine.
- Traces of blood in semen.
What are the common tests to identify prostate cancer?
PSA is a protein made by the prostate, so measuring its level in the blood can help identify prostate problems. Men with prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA in the blood, but other prostate conditions can also show higher PSA levels. The possibility of a false positive result is high, so a doctor may recommend a biopsy to confirm it. Levels of more than 4ngm/ml should need a more detailed discussion with uro-oncologist.
Digital rectal examination (DRE) is a physical examination by a doctor to feel the prostate through the rectum for any abnormalities.
Who is at risk of prostate cancer?
Should you get screened for prostate cancer?
Dr Reinhold Zimmermann, consultant urologist in the UAE.
Image Credit: Supplied
Dr Dinanath Tharkar, consultant urologist in the UAE.
Prostate cancer in the UAE
Urologists in the UAE feel that a lack of awareness and poor understanding of the problem are the underlying causes. Better awareness will lead to regular screening, and an early diagnosis will result in complete cure. The PSA tests are covered by insurance companies in the UAE, according to the NMC Hospital.
What are the treatments available in the UAE?
New minimal invasive methods of treatment for an enlarged prostate gland in the UAE include the following:
- Bipolar TURP (Trans urethral Process). It is available at NMC Specialty Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
- Lasers — HOLEP (Holmium Laser Enucleation of the Prostate) and Greenlight laser and Thulium laser evaporation of prostate.
- Aqua ablation of the prostate.
Minimally-invasive technique available in the UAE
Robotic surgery for prostate cancer is available at American Hospital Dubai. Dr Reinhold Zimmermann, a consultant urologist, says prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system offers better precision because the surgeon has a 3D view. “There is no large incision needed, but only a few small cuts through the skin to insert the instruments into the body,” he added. “The robotic instruments provide the same range of motion like the human hand — unlike the instruments for a keyhole surgery, which offers very limited movement. This makes difficult surgical manoeuvres more precise, gentler, easier, faster and safer.
Tips to take care of your prostate
Adequate water intake for good urine output and sexual health and hygiene are necessary to prevent infections and inflammations. Some foods have been linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer, but there’s no adequate proof. In addition to eating a healthy diet, you should stay active and exercise regularly.