10 myths and truths about prostate cancer


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Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that mainly affects men especially those who are at the age of 50. Some of the symptoms associated with this type of cancer include difficulty urinating, constant feeling of having a full bladder or inability to maintain ordination.

However, in many cases, the cancer may not present any symptoms and therefore it is advisable to undergo a cancer screening once you reach the age of 50.

Despite the cancer being common, it can be treated especially when diagnosed in its early stages. However, prostate cancer still generates several types of myths that make the screening difficult.

Some of the myths include:

1. Only happens in the elderly.

MYTH. Prostate cancer is more common in elderly men from the age of 50 but this must not always be the case as it can affect younger men as well. Therefore, it is important that one is aware of the signs and symptoms that may be a sign of prostate cancer so that they consult a urologist for further tests.

In addition, it is very important to undergo annual screening, especially for men who are 50 and above, even if they are healthy and without a history of prostate cancer in the family. It is also recommended for men who are 45 and above who have had close relatives, such as father of brother with a history of prostate cancer.

2. Having high PSA means having cancer.

MYTH. An increased PSA value above 4mg/ml does not always mean that a cancer is developing. This is because an inflammation of the prostate can cause an increase in the production of this enzyme which will result in symptoms that are not cancerous such as prostatitis or benign hypertrophy. In such cases, although treatment is necessary, it is different from cancer treatment and the urologist should offer the right guidance.

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3. Rectal examination is even necessary.

TRUE. Rectal examination is a uncomfortable procedure and for this reason most men prefer to undergo only the PSA test as a form of cancer screening. However, there are several cases where cancer was diagnosed without any changes in PSA levels in the blood, which remains the same, that is less than 4mg/ml. Thus a rectal touch can assist the doctor in identifying any changes in the prostate even if the PSA values are correct.

Ideally, at least two tests should be performed to correctly identify the presence of the cancer. The simple and most economical ones being the rectal examination and the PSA test.

4. Having enlarged prostate is the same as cancer.

MYTH. Prostate enlargement may be a sign of a developing cancer in the gland but it can also be a sign of other prostate condition such as prostatic hyperplasia.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as prostatic hypertrophy, is a common condition that affects men above 50 years. It is a benign condition that may not present any symptoms or changes in day-to-day life. However, several men who have prostatic hypertrophy may still exhibit cancer-like symptoms such as difficulty urinating or the constant sensation of a full bladder.

In such situations, it is best to always consult a urologist who will correct identify the cause of the enlarged prostate and initiate the appropriate treatment.

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5. History of cancer in the family increases the risk.

TRUE. Having a history of cancer in the family increases the risk of having any type of cancer. However, several studies have proved that having a first-line family member such as father or brother with a history of prostate cancer increases the risk up to twice of the man developing the same type of cancer.

For this reason, men who have a direct history of prostate cancer in the family should begin cancer screening up to 5 years before the men that do not have any history.

6. Ejaculating often decreases the risk of cancer.

IT’S NOT CONFIRMED. Although some studies confirm that having more than 21 ejaculations per month reduces the risk of developing cancer and prostate conditions, it is still unanimous throughout the scientific community. This is because there are no studies that have reached any relationship between the number of ejaculations and the development of prostate cancer.

7. Pumpkin seeds reduce the risk of cancer.

TRUE. Pumpkin seeds are rich in carotenoids which are substances that contain potent antioxidant action and they are capable of preventing various type of cancer, including prostate cancer. Moreover, like pumpkin seeds, tomato has also been studied as an important food in prevention of prostate cancer as it is rich in lycopene, a type of carotenoid.

In addition to these two foods, it is necessary that one east healthily so as to reduce the risks of developing cancer. It is advisable to reduce the consumption of red meat and increase the intake of vegetables and limit the intake of sugar and alcoholic beverages.

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8. Having vasectomy increases the risk of cancer.

MYTH. After several epidemiological studies, the relationship between vasectomy surgery and cancer development has not been confirmed. For this reason, a vasectomy is considered safe and there is no proof that it increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.

9. Prostate cancer has a cure.

TRUE. Although not all cases of prostate cancer can be cured, the truth is that this type of cancer has a higher rate of being cured, especially when it is diagnosed in the early stages.

Treatment is usually done using surgery to remove the prostate so as to completely eliminate the cancer. However, depending on the age of the man and the stage of the disease, the urologist may indicate other types of treatment such as remedies as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

10. Cancer treatment always causes impotence.

MYTH. Treatment for any type of cancer is always accompanied by various side effects especially when more aggressive techniques are used such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. For the case of prostate cancer, the main type of treatment that is usually used in surgery. Although it is a safe method, it can result in adverse side effects which include other complications from the disease.

However, this is usually frequent when the cancer is in its advanced stages, when the surgery is longer and it is necessary to remove a very enlarged prostate. This will increase the risk of getting important nerves related to maintaining the reaction.


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Cornelius A.

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