Prostate cancer affects about 3,500 men in Ireland every year – this is one in seven men diagnosed with the condition every year. But while these numbers are worrying, it is a very therapeutic form of cancer, especially if it is detected early.
During November, the Movember campaign aims to encourage men to report to their general general practitioner whether they are concerned about any aspect of their health, as early treatment for conditions such as prostate cancer can have a very positive effect.
Tom Hope is a living proof, as with the routine routine tests he discovered he had prostate cancer and is now under surveillance to ensure that he remains under control.
"In 2009 on an annual visit to my doctor to check my blood pressure, she took blood samples that I guess was part of a regular annual check," says 71-year-old. "But about a week later, I come in contact with saying there are some high blood readings and I would like to visit a urologist to check them out.
"At this stage, I did not realize what the readings were or what they meant, but I went to the urologist who explained what the prostate gland was, what its function was and what PSA (prostate specific antigen) representation was. a leap in PSA readings from 2.9 to 4.5, my doctor was worried and I thought I had to undergo a biopsy that should clarify the cause of the PSA increase and then I was asked to return to the urologist and bring the my husband with me. "
At the age of 62, the father of the three did not expect to say that he had cancer and had to make the difficult decision about whether or not he had a cure that could lead to side effects.
"During the visit, the counselor informed me that I was low-grade prostate cancer," says Meath's man. "This was a complete shock as I had no symptoms or no difficulty working with my urine and I was given the option of surgery to remove prostate (incontinence risk) or active follow up, six months to watch my PSA and visit my urologist every six months and receive a digital rectal examination (DRE) to monitor the cancer status.
"I talked about the choices with my husband and I decided to follow an active follow-up as I did not want to risk incontinence. I could always choose surgery later if I changed my mind if it was absolutely necessary and I also explained a decision to three my adult children.
"But the most difficult issue was to accept that I had prostate cancer – I had not caused it, I did not drink, did not smoke and exercise regularly, but it was not likely to cause me any difficulty or kill me."
Indeed, Kevin O'Hagan, Cancer Prevention Director of the Irish Cancer Society reports that most men do not die from the disease, but it is still important to be vigilant.
"Most prostate cancers occur when they are premature, many are slowly developing and symptoms may not happen for many years if they do not happen at all – and men with premature prostate cancer are unlikely to have symptoms," he says.
"Because prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms, it is often identified by regular examinations. If you are over 50 years of age, you should visit your doctor every year for examination. If you have a family history you should have regular control by age 40 years of age, as your doctor may check for the possibility of prostate cancer when you have no symptoms. The test should include a prostate rectal digital exam and a specific blood test called a PSA blood test.
"Although there are many men living with prostate cancer, most men do not die of it – and in most cases they can be cured or remain under control."
The main treatments for prostate cancer are active monitoring, external beam radiation, hormone therapy, brachytherapy, surgery, chemotherapy and careful waiting – and each case is individual.
"The best treatment depends on many things, such as the stage and the quality of your cancer (how much your cancer has spread and how fast it is growing), any symptoms, your general health, your age and your personal preference" says the expert. "And with improved therapies, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is now over 90pc.
While symptoms of the urinary prostate can be a sign of prostate cancer, they are more often caused by a dangerous enlargement of the prostate, which is common as you grow older.
Prostate cancer by Tom Hope was detected because he was careful to carry out routine tests. He was also diagnosed with a malignant skin melanoma that was captured and treated early for the same reason.
Today she is good and healthy and encourages other men to know their bodies and to seek help if anything is worrying about them. And also watch the routine examinations and learn as much as possible about the health services available to everyone.
"My oncologist commented that I was lucky to recognize my skin cancer early as it is only when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body that have been identified," says Tom, who left as Barnardo's finance director in 2013. " over the years I have found great comfort and support in meeting and speaking with other men who have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer and have had a normal life of 15 years or more after diagnosis.
"I am following Irish Cancer Society (ICS) Survivors every year to inform about the treatment options, so if I am compelled to decide on a treatment, I am fully aware of the options available, have been part of their support services by talking to patients who were referred by the ICS Helpdesk or the Daffodil Centers In 2014 I came to the Men against Cancer (MAC) team – a support group for men diagnosed with prostate cancer who have become part of the committee.
"I am also a member of several other committees and now, nine years later, after two further biopsies, both of which came back clear and my PSAs are moving from 2.7 to 7.3, so I'm in very good health, detection . "
FACTBOX: Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer occurs when normal cells in the prostate gland change and grow to form a mass of cells called tumor.
⬤ Early prostate cancer does not cause normal symptoms. It usually only causes symptoms when it has increased enough to disturb the urinary bladder or to push the urine drain tube causing problems with the urine.
These symptoms are called urinary prostate symptoms and include slow flow of urine, problems with onset or stopping flow, more frequent urge swelling, especially at night, urinary tract pain, and bladder emptying.
⬤ In Ireland, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer
⬤ Every year more than 3,300 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer here. This means that one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Less common symptoms include lower back pain, hips or upper thigh, difficulty in taking or maintaining an erection, blood in urine or sperm.
It is important to see your doctor if you have any concerns or if you have any of these symptoms so that they can be discussed and evaluated.
⬤ For more information visit cancer.ie or contact the Cancer Hospital with a free phone number 1800 200 700, email at [email protected] or leave it at one of the 13 hospital yards at national level.
⬤ Partners Movember with the Irish Cancer Society and is the primary contributor to prostate cancer programs. The funds help provide information, support and care to those suffering from prostate cancer, as well as funding vital research into cancer.
⬤ To join, check out movember.com
Health & Life