Protect Your Manhood

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CANSA raises awareness of prostate cancer, the most common male cancer globally and locally and showing significant increases.* According to the National Cancer Registry, South African men have a 1:19 risk for being diagnosed in their lifetime. International and local research indicates that the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher in black men. View Infographics…

Prof Riana Bornman, Senior Research Professor at the University of Pretoria’s School of Health Systems and Public Health and Prof Vanessa Hayes, a Genomicist from the Garvan Medical Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, focused their research on prostate cancer men of black and Khoisan descent in Southern Africa to better understand the possible links between prostate cancer and African ancestry. #ProstateCancer

Bornman states, “The most common risk factors include African ancestry, increasing age (from 50’s onwards) and a family history of prostate cancer – on either the mother or father’s side. It might be that prostate cancer grows more rapidly in black than in white men and that transformation from latent to aggressive prostate cancer might occur earlier in black men. Rural men especially may present late and with advanced disease. Men who were biopsied for prostate cancer will be registered in the National Cancer Registry database in South Africa, however, there’s currently no registry for prostate cancer cases that were diagnosed without a biopsy. Therefore, the numbers reported for prostate cancer in South Africa are likely an underestimate of the real numbers occurring. Annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing is essential to help detect prostate cancer early, through a simple blood test and this is currently not routinely measured in men presenting at public hospitals.”

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland of the male reproductive system, located just below the bladder. Prostate cancer often grows very slowly and may not cause significant harm, but some types are more aggressive and can spread quickly without treatment. In the early stages, men may have no symptoms. Later, symptoms can include frequent passing of urine, especially at night; difficulty starting or stopping urination; weak or interrupted urinary stream; painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation; blood in urine or semen. Advanced cancer can cause deep pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs. #MensHealth

Risk factors for prostate cancer include age, ethnicity, family history, being obese or overweight and some dietary factors appear to increase risk. Men can lower their risk of prostate cancer by eating a healthy diet (including lots of fruit and vegetables), maintaining a healthy weight and limiting red meat and high fat dairy products.

Gerda Strauss, CANSA Head of Service Delivery says, “Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests are available at CANSA Care Centres countrywide to help detect prostate abnormalities early. CANSA advises men to talk with a doctor or the local health facility about screening tests, beginning at 40 for men with a first-degree relative diagnosed at an early age and at 45 for all other men. The PSA blood tests in combination with a digital rectal examination (DRE) are optimal for screening for prostate cancer.” #CANSAscreening

Pharmacy at Spar is excited to launch its new partnership with CANSA offering cancer risk-reduction screenings at selected Pharmacy at Spar branches nationwide. Professional nursing staff will provide a PSA-test special (R150) in November as part of CANSA’s Men’s Health campaign. PSA testing is also available at public health care centres.

“Encourage your loved ones, family and friends to take care of their health and to get screened. Early detection can save your life. Watch out for the new Hello FCB video in collaboration with CANSA, to be launched soon, to help promote awareness and get men to realise the importance of early detection,” Strauss adds.

Testicular cancer has a high incidence among younger men in South Africa with lifetime risk being 1 in 1 798, according to the 2014 National Cancer Registry. Most testicular cancers can be detected early – a lump or swelling may be the first sign that a medical practitioner should be consulted. It’s important for young men to start testicular self-examinations soon after puberty. Men from the age 15 to 49 years need to examine their testicles each month, preferably after a bath or shower, to feel for any pea-sized lumps that could indicate testicular cancer. Find instructions on doing a self-examination on CANSA’s website.

CANSA is investing in research in the high incidence of prostate cancer and is funding the Southern African Prostate Cancer study (SAPCS) conducted at the University of Pretoria. This study will contribute to understanding of prostate cancer risk, disease progression and outcomes specifically in the South African population. CANSA is also coordinating the IRONMAN (International Registry for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer) study, funded by Movember Foundation and sponsored by the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium. It will contribute to a large global study of 5000 men, evaluating the treatment and patient-reported outcomes for men with advanced prostate cancer. #CANSAResearch

Strauss concludes, “We advise that men reach out for counselling and support. It’s as easy as making an appointment at one of our CANSA Care Centres to see our social workers, attending one of our support groups or joining our online support programs like iSurvivor or our CANSA Champions of Hope Facebook group. You don’t have to deal with this alone,” Strauss concludes.

* A paper published in 2014 examining the number of prostate cases diagnosed and deaths, showed significant increases than in previous years. (Babb C, Urban M, Kielkowski D, Kellett P. Prostate cancer in South Africa: pathology based national cancer registry data (1986–2006) and mortality rates (1997–2009). Prostate Cancer. 2014;2014.)

About CANSA

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 12 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Queries CANSA

Visit www.cansa.org.za or contact the nearest CANSA Care Centre, call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: info@cansa.org.za. In addition to online resources and Facebook support groups, CANSA offers multi-lingual support on WhatsApp: 072 197 9305 for English and Afrikaans and 071 867 3530 for Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Siswati. Follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA (http://www.twitter.com/CANSA), join CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa and follow CANSA on Instagram: @cancerassociationofsouthafrica and LinkedIn.