Prostate cancer is a common condition seen in men. Let us unravel the truth behind some myths associated with it –
Myth 1: Raised PSA level means prostate cancer
Fact: PSA or Prostate-specific antigen is a protein secreted from the prostate gland, usually in small quantities. Its function is to liquefy the semen thereby improving the sperm motility. According to urology centre, raised PSA levels may be an indication of the possibility of prostate cancer, but the definite diagnosis will need an urologist’s consultation and clinical examination. PSA levels may be raised due to some conditions like urinary retention, urinary tract infection, acute prostatitis, or enlargement of the Prostate. The vice versa is also true. A person with prostate cancer may not have a high PSA level.
Myth 2: Prostate cancer affects only elderly people
Fact: Although most of the cases are seen in the age group of 65 plus, there are many patients in the age group of 40- 50 who have the same problem. People with a strong family history of prostate cancer run a higher risk of developing prostate cancer even in their youth.
Myth 3: Prostate cancer always shows some urinary symptoms
Fact: Some patients with prostate cancer have urinary symptoms, but many of them don’t show these signs. The indications may be given by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, bone pain, swelling in the feet, or a raised PSA, which can all indicate prostate cancer.
Myth 4: Prostate cancer grows slowly
Fact: Not all prostate cancers progress slowly. Sometimes, it strikes in an aggressive manner and may spread rapidly. Your urologist must be consulted to know the exact type of variant you have, aggressive or mild.
Myth 5: If prostate is not in my family history, I won’t have it
Fact: While it is true that it has genetic reasons, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have it just because nobody else in the family had it.
Myth 6: The only cure for Prostate cancer is surgery or radiotherapy:
Fact: While the majority of the cases need Prostate cancer treatment through either surgical intervention or radiotherapy, but many low-grade cancers can be kept under observation before treating them. One can also keep a watchful eye if the cancer is confined to the prostate only and the patient has a life expectancy of fewer than 10 years. Medications are also preferred in cases in which cancer has spread to various organs like lungs, bones, brain, liver and lymph nodes outside the pelvis. However, the medications will help in controlling the disease but not cure it.
Myth 7: Sexual activity raises the risk of Prostate Cancer
Fact: Studies have shown that the risk of prostate cancer is lower in people who have higher ejaculations per month.
Myth 8: The condition of Benign Prostatic enlargement raises the risk for Prostate cancer
Fact: Many men have benign prostatic enlargement (BPE) with age but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Of course, the patients of BPE are more likely to get an early diagnosis as they visit the urologist regularly.