Focus on the prostate Focus on the prostate

Focus on the prostate

WITH YOUR BODY 6 October, 2019 Ana María López de Mesa

Minimize risks with timely checkups and knowing the warning signs.

Advisor: Claudia Lucía Ochoa Rodríguez
Urologist and oncologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

One of the widespread myths that prevent men from getting screened for tests that could potentially help catch prostate cancer in its early stages is that it is an alleged attempt against one’s manhood. According to information from its website, the Mayo Clinic recommends getting the respective prostate screening as of age 50 – or earlier for men with risk factors – to detect a potential case of cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia, which causes similar symptoms and blocks the urinary tract. Being aware of the issue and talking about it with your doctor is critical, as in its initial stages, this type of cancer usually has no symptoms; however, in its more advanced stages, it tends to cause problems. Know what the warning signs are in order to take action on time.

A painless test

A digital rectal exam checks the prostate by inserting a finger with a lubricated glove into the rectum. “It is not painful and does not change a person’s sexual orientation,” explains Dr. Ochoa, a urologist, in response to people’s fear of this test. This procedure is performed together with a prostate-specific antigen blood test.  Levels that are higher than normal either indicate an infection, inflammation or an enlarged gland.

5 minutes is how long the prostate exam takes. This allows the doctor to find any abnormality in the texture, shape or size of the gland.

Symptoms It is important to check if the patient has difficulty urinating, a delayed or a slowed start of the urinary stream, a need to urinate several times a day and at night, dribbling after urinating, urinary retention or blood in the urine. Having any of these symptoms – not necessarily all of them – is an indication that you should see your doctor right away.

20 % to 30% of patients with prostate cancer may show normal antigens yet abnormal prostate exams, which is why a physical examination is necessary.

The 11thof June is the celebrates the fight against prostate cancer. In Colombia, 1 in 3 men over age 50 have this disease. Prevention is key.

Healthy habits

As indicated by the informational manuals published by the Ministry of Health of Colombia, the risk factors that can affect the onset of this type of cancer and can be managed include: eating a lot of red meats and dairy products, physical inactivity, being overweight or obese, alcohol consumption and being exposed to chemical contaminants.

Related: Goodbye to prejudices! Go for an annual prostate exam