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What is Prostate Cancer?

Cancer that occurs in the prostate gland.

What is Prostate?

The prostate is a gland found only in males. It is located in front of the rectum (last part of the large intestine leading to the rectum) and below the urinary bladder (where urine is stored). The size of the prostate varies with age. In younger men, it is about the size of a kolanut, but it can be much larger in older men.

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer.

Why is it important to know your risk of prostate cancer?

Recent report by World Health Organization (WHO) showed a 100 per cent increase in number of deaths from prostate cancer in four short years in Nigeria. Prostate cancer now kills 26 Nigerian men every day. Knowledge of your risk will help you to take the precaution.

KNOW YOUR RISK

A. NON-MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS i.e. Risk Factor that cannot be changed (MAJOR)

Age- Prostate cancer is very rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50.

Family history- Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. The risk is higher for men who have a brother with the disease than for those with an affected father. The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young at the time the cancer was found.

Race- Prostate cancer occurs more often in Africans. It also occurs at an earlier age in blacks and is more aggressive in blacks. So, ALL BLACK MEN ARE AT INCREASED RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER!

B.     NON-MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS (UNCOMMON)

Length of Your Fingers– Men who have an index finger that is longer than their ring finger are 33 percent less likely to have prostate cancer than men with an index finger that is the same length or shorter than their ring finger

Hair Loss (Balding)- Men who began losing their hair by age 20 are twice as likely to get prostate cancer later in life.

The Gender of Your Kids– men who father only daughters may be up to 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than those who father only sons. In fact, the more sons a man had, the lower his risk was. But don’t blame your kids, some men are predisposed to having daughters because of certain unique characteristics on their Y chromosome, which might also enhance their risk for developing prostate cancer.

Height– Tall men are at higher risk of prostate cancer. The risk of the potentially fatal disease rises by around 6 per cent for every extra four inches in height. A short man has around a 19 per cent smaller risk of developing the cancer than a man a foot taller than him.

C.     MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS i.e. Risk Factor that can be changed

Diet- Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer.

Obesity- Men who are obese (very overweight) have a higher risk of getting more aggressive prostate cancer.

Smoking- Some recent research has linked smoking to a possible small increase in the risk of death from prostate cancer, but this is a new finding that will need to be confirmed by other studies.

Workplace exposures- There is some evidence that firefighters are exposed to substances (toxic combustion products) that may increase risk.

D.  MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS (UNCOMMON)

Sexual Activity– Active sex life (sexual activity more than ten times a month) ‘cuts prostate cancer risk’ – once a man is over fifty. Having an active sex life in their 50s could protect men against prostate cancer. But greater levels of sexual activity among men in their 20s could increase their chances of developing the disease in later life. Keeping up a regular sex life – rather than excessive activity in younger years followed by a fallow period – is best for men’s health.

This could be due to the fact that during the early years the prostate gland is more susceptible to hormonal changes and is still developing. As men age and accumulate toxins from the diet or through their lungs, sexual activity may help release them.’

obese bald man

So, the typical physical characteristic of a high risk man is an obese tall man with early balding whose index finger is same length or equal to that of the ring finger with mainly female children and who was very sexually active in his 20s to 30s but has lost interest in sex in his middle age .

NOTE: Risk factors don’t tell us everything. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.

BOTTOM LINE:

ALL NIGERIAN MEN ABOVE 40 SHOULD CARRY OUT THEIR PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING

SUPPORT THE BIG WAR AGAINST CANCER AIMED AT TAKING CANCER PREVENTION TO THE GRASSROOTS THROUGH THE USE OF MOBILE CANCER CENTRES (MCC).

FOR MORE INFO, SEE ICPD PAGE OF www.cecpng.org

© 2014 Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)