01/8Delay in prostate cancer diagnosis can be life-threatening

Cancer in all its forms is dangerous, especially if it gets diagnosed at a later stage, where it becomes incurable.

As far as prostate cancer is concerned, it is one of the most common and concerning cancers in men. Reportedly, it is the second most frequent malignancy - after lung cancer - in men worldwide, accounting for about 1,276,106 new cases and causing 358,989 deaths in 2018.

More so, one of the primary reasons why so many people die from prostate cancer is due to misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis.

Also read: Early signs of prostate cancer most men miss but shouldn't

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02/8What is prostate cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow abnormally, which means cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells, and can spread to other areas of the body.

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland, which is a small walnut-shaped gland in males, that produces seminal fluid. The cells in the prostate begin to grow out of control, becoming cancerous.

As per the healthy body, there are different types of prostate cancer including small cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors, transitional cell carcinomas, sarcomas.

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03/8Prostate cancer may not always showcase urinary symptoms

Most often, prostate cancer is associated with urinary symptoms, which include needing to pee more frequently, often during the night, difficulty in starting to pee, straining while peeing or a weak flow. Other symptoms include difficulty in ejaculation, feeling bladder pressure and blood in urine or in semen.

However, researchers believe waiting for urinary symptoms to appear can further delay diagnosis and treatment, increasing the risk of death.

Also read: Your abdominal pain could mean more than just gas! Possible causes to keep an eye out for

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04/8About the study

A study published by a team at the University of Cambridge shares that focusing on urinary symptoms can be misleading when it comes to diagnosing prostate cancer.

“When most people think of the symptoms of prostate cancer, they think of problems with peeing or needing to pee more frequently, particularly during the night," explains Vincent Gnanapragasam, professor of urology at the university.

“This misperception has lasted for decades, despite very little evidence, and it’s potentially preventing us picking up cases at an early stage," he adds.

Furthermore, a recent study went as far as to say that asymptomatic or a lack of urinary symptoms may in fact signal a higher risk of cancer.

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05/8Prostate cancer is not always symptomatic

Researchers involved in the study have pointed out that the misconception that prostate cancer is always symptomatic can be misleading.

According to a study, 86 percent of the population associated prostate cancer with symptoms, but only one percent were aware that it could be asymptomatic.

“We urgently need to recognise that the information currently given to the public risks giving men a false sense of security if they don’t have any urinary symptoms,” said Professor Gnanapragasam.

“We need to emphasise that prostate cancer can be a silent or asymptomatic disease, particularly in its curable stages," he adds.

He highlights: "Waiting out for urinary symptoms may mean missing opportunities to catch the disease when it’s treatable."

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06/8Understand your risk factors

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "All men are at risk for prostate cancer."

However, the most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer, says the health body.

Furthermore, a family history of cancer and obesity can also increase your risk of the disease.

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07/8Bottomline

“Men shouldn’t be afraid to speak to their GP about getting tested, and about the value of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, especially if they have a history of prostate cancer in their family or have other risk factors such as being of black or mixed black ethnicity,” says Professor Gnanapragasam.

It is important that one follows a healthy lifestyle, indulges in regular exercise, maintains a healthy weight and goes for regular screening.

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08/8What you should know

According to John Hopkins Medicine, "Poor eating habits and diets that heavily rely on fats and animal proteins can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer."

That said, it is important to improve your diet, reduce fat intake, include more of fruits and veggies to your food plate and most importantly, indulge in regular exercise so as to maintain a healthy weight.

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