Men should take the initiative to consult with their doctors to enable early screening for prostate cancer, according to two experts from the Uro-Oncology Unit at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
Dr Nagy Younes and Dr Khalid Al Rumaihi, Consultants of Surgery/Urology at HMC, highlight the importance of early screening so that prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in men, can be diagnosed while it is still treatable. The experts encourage men to talk to their doctor about any questions they may have about prostate cancer, and to discuss their treatment options with their physician if they are diagnosed with the disease.
“Cases of prostate cancer have increased by more than triple in Qatar in ten years,” said Dr Al Rumaihi. “The increase in the number of prostate cases can be attributed to the increase in population as well as an increase in the number of detected cases.”
Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland – a small, walnut-sized structure that is found below the bladder and in front of the rectum, and makes up part of a man's reproductive system. The cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. More advanced prostate cancer may cause symptoms such as trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, swelling in the legs, discomfort in the pelvic area, and bone pain.
A yearly prostate examination is particularly important for men after the age of 50, who are at a higher risk of having prostate cancer. Other risk factors include family history and elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in young men.
One of the initiatives being pursued by HMC is the setting up of specialist clinics that provide rapid diagnosis of different conditions. The Uro-Oncology Unit is one of the first specialist clinics providing valuable screening and diagnosis support to patients suffering from prostate cancer, as well as those with bladder, renal and testicular cancer.
“About 50 patients with prostate cancer are now being treated by the Uro-Oncology Unit per year,” said Dr Younes. “The disease is curable when diagnosed and treated early. However, about 50 percent of patients seeking treatment at HMC are diagnosed when the cancer is already advanced, which makes treatment difficult.”
“Besides prostate cancer, the unit also treats about 25-30 patients with bladder cancer, 25-30 renal cancer patients and 10-12 testicular cancer patients per year. Most of these patients come early, while the cancer is still treatable,” Dr Younes added.
“Priority cases that should be seen immediately include those with hematuria (blood in urine), those whose ultrasound show renal lumps, and those who have testicular lumps,” Dr Younes explained. The Uro-Oncology Department is planning an orientation for Primary Healthcare Center workers as part of its efforts to raise awareness regarding the cancer.
A healthy overall lifestyle, with a proper diet rich in fruits and vegetables and less red meat or fatty foods, as well as physical exercise, is important in preventing different types of cancer.