Prostate Cancer



What is Prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland, found in the male genitals, starts to grow out of control. Adenocarcinoma being the most common form.  Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer worldwide.



In the most basic form prostate cancer is caused by changes in the DNA – (cells making up our genes) of the normal prostate cells. Cancer can also be caused by DNA mutations, cells that are turned on, or that turn off tumor suppressor genes. These types of gene changes can lead to cells growing out of control.  DNA changes can be inherited from a parent or DNA changes acquired during a person’s lifetime.


Risk Factors

Different cancers have different risk factors. Some, like poor lifestyle choices can be changed. Others, like a person’s age and family history, cannot.

  • Age – Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of developing prostate cancer increases rapidly after 50. About 6 in 10 cases are found in men older than 65.
  • Family History – Prostate cancer seems to run in families, men inheriting prostate cancer through genetic factors. However, most occur in men without a family history.
  • Gene changes – Several inherited gene changes (mutations) seem to raise the risk of prostate cancer, but accounts for a small percentage overall.
  • Lifestyle – Obesity, smoking, diet, chemical exposure, inflammation of the prostate, and sexually transmitted infections all raise the risk in developing prostate cancer.



There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer. But there are things you can do to lower the risk.

*Bodyweight, physical activity, and diet.

*Vitamin and mineral supplements.

*Research has suggested that too much calcium in the diet can slightly up the risk of developing prostate cancer.



Early-stage prostate cancer may not have any signs or symptoms. Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer may however include:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Decreased force of urination
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urine stream
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain or discomfort in the pubic area
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

If prostate cancer is suspected based on the results of screening tests or symptoms, further tests will be needed to be sure. If your primary healthcare professional detects a possible abnormality, you might be referred to a urologist, a doctor who treats cancers of the genital and urinary tract, including prostate cancer.



After a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, doctors will determine if it has spread, and if so, how far. This is called staging. The stage of prostate cancer describes how much cancer is in the body, and how best to treat it. Treatment will then commence according to the stage.

Treatment may include:



Anti-androgens – Drugs to prevent testosterone from reaching cancer cells.

Chemotherapy – Drugs to kill cancer cells.



Radical prostatectomy – Removal of the prostate gland, surrounding tissue, and lymph nodes.

Orchiectomy – Removing the testicles to reduce testosterone in the body.

Cryoablation – Freezing the prostate to kill cancer cells.



Radiation therapy – Uses high energy rays to kill cancer cells.


In Conclusion

Unfortunately, men are reluctant to seek help if they are unwell and less likely to openly discuss their feelings with regard to health or any significant life event. Add to this increased tendency to engage in activities that are harmful to their health, and you have the basis for undiagnosed cancers.


Movember – Changing the face of men’s health


The Movember Foundation started in 2003 and then partnered with CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa), evolving into a movement to raise awareness around prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention in men. The vision is to get men to grow moustaches for the month of November while raising funds and awareness for men’s health issues.