Cancer is tricky! The moment it shows its symptoms, is probably when it is too late to treat.
This is why we always urge people to visit doctors often, since it helps them with early diagnosis and knowing their risk factors they stand and how they should get rid of them.
Last week, I was involved in free screening camp here in Dar es Salaam, organised by young doctors and health activists.
The camp aimed at providing health education to youth, raising awareness about different ailments to individuals as well as encouraging them to understand their medical status.
Youth were mainly targeted but people with different age groups showed up and we made sure they were all attended to.
Since it’s September, a prostate cancer awareness month, before screening started, I took a chance to educate the mass what exactly they need to know about the disease, which positively influenced them to get prostate cancer screening through a PSA test; a simple blood test that is used to identify initial symptoms, or the possibility of prostate cancer at some point in life, which was one of the screenings we offered during the camp.
Honestly, I was baffled by the fact that almost 24 out of 200 young men at their early 30s to 40s screened, their PSA results were positive.
These numbers are significant. This was only in 200 men, can you imagine what if the campaign was country wise?
In most cases, young men barely expect to be diagnosed with enlarged prostate, but although prostate cancer risks increases with age, this is the case.
Age remains the number one risk factor for prostate cancer, it should be understood that apart from age, there are other risk factors that even people at their youth days may stand.
Knowing these risk factors will help young men to get rid of them before they develop the disease.
Learn about personal risk factors. Like I said earlier, the risk of prostate cancer increases the older you get mostly starting around early 60s.
Another personal risk factor is family history. People who come from families with strong history of prostate issues, stand the high chance of developing the disease. Men who have a father, son, or brother who had prostate cancer are at increased risk for getting prostate cancer.
Men with three or more first-degree relatives (father, son, or brother), or two close relatives on the same side of the family who have had prostate cancer may have a type of prostate cancer caused by genetic changes that are inherited.
If you know you belong to families of this kind, it’s recommended you talk to your doctors for genetic testing to determine your chance of developing prostate cancer due to family factors, especially genetic factors.
By doing this at an early age, it will help you get rid of any chance of the disease.
Recognise the symptoms. There are some symptoms that you can look for that might be caused by prostate cancer.
See your doctor if you experience symptoms such as frequent urination especially at night, weak or interrupted flow of urine, difficulty urinating or straining to start the urine stream, inability to urinate, pain or burning while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty having an erection, or nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis.
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer, but you should see your doctor to get tested for it or other issues.
Remember, the phrase that prostate cancer is ‘old man’s disease’, is nothing but a myth and it should be debunked.
Old men are more likely to develop it, but it is real in young age too. This September you are reminded to visit your doctor to determine your risk factors and get rid of them while you are still young. Don’t wait until it’s too late.