Prostate cancer is much less talked about cancers, unlike breast cancer. Prostate cancer in India is the second leading cancer in men in the major Indian cities, revealed a 2014 study published in the Journal Meta Gene. Not many men are aware of prostate cancer although the cases are on a rising trend. There are many myths and misconceptions about prostate cancer which indicates the lack of awareness about the condition. So in this article, we aim to bust some of the common myths about prostate cancer.
Myth 1: Only elderly men get prostate cancer
It is true that the older you are, the higher is the risk of prostate cancer. In most cases, people above 65 years of age suffer from the condition. However, it is a misconception that prostate cancer is an old man’s disease. Although rare, even men aged 40 years can suffer from prostate cancer.
Moreover, age is not the only factors that put you at risk of cancer. People with a family history of prostate cancer are twice likely to suffer from the condition. So if your father or brother suffered from prostate cancer, you are more likely to get it. Also, people with African and American ancestry have a higher risk. Lifestyle factors such as diet is also known to put you at risk of prostate cancer. Here’s more on the causes and risk factors of prostate cancer.
Myth 2: If you do not show symptoms of prostate cancer, you do not have cancer
Most men think that if they do not show any symptoms of prostate cancer, then it means they do not suffer from the condition. This is one of the common myths about prostate cancer. However, this is completely wrong because prostate cancer is one of the most asymptomatic cancers. This means that not all men experience the symptoms and even if you have symptoms of prostate cancer it can be mistaken for other conditions. The symptoms are usually detected first during a routine check-up at a doctor’s clinic. As the symptoms fail to show up, screening of prostate cancer is highly recommended to diagnose cancer at an early stage, if any.
Myth 3: Prostate cancer surgery will end your sex life
Most people believe that the surgery for prostate cancer will kill their sexual life. However, this is not the case. Diagnosing the condition earlier and getting it treated from an expert can help you to lead a normal sex life. Talk to your doctor to know the pros and cons of undergoing surgery to remove the prostate gland. The surgery might affect the nerves and can affect your sex life for a short period of time, which is termed as the recovery period. You can attain an erection and enjoy your sex life post the recovery period which ranges from a few months to a year or two, though depending upon the disease state and treatment options which may vary between individuals.
Myth 4: A high PSA level means you have prostate cancer
Not necessarily because any inflammation of the prostate gland can cause the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to surge up. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. Although prostate cancer can cause high levels of PSA it is not the only cause. The PSA levels in the blood can increase due to other medical conditions such as prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH, which is known as prostate enlargement). The score helps your doctor decide if you need more tests to check for prostate cancer. Also, he’ll watch your PSA score over time. If it’s on the rise, that could be a sign of a problem, which needs to be addressed at the earliest.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
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