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March is the month of Prostate Cancer awareness

Mar 29, 2011, 2:27 PM | Article By: Momodou Faal

Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems of sexual dysfunction other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.

Men with high blood pressure are more likely to develop prostate cancer. This risk appears to be greater for men with an affected brother than for men with an affected father. Obesity  and elevated blood levels of testosterone may increase the risk for prostate cancer.

"Men should be more forthcoming and not shy. If they have any urine symptoms these should be diagnosed, investigated and treated further in The Gambia."

DR AZADEH Senior Lecturer at the University of The Gambia is focussing on this week's health matters on disease of male prostate, symptoms, causes, diagnose and treatment in The Gambia.

DR AZADEH what is actually prostate

As the month of MARCH is prostate cancer awareness Doctors in The Gambia are calling on men to be aware of the symptoms and the range of information and support available in The Gambia to those affected by the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with an average of about one in 12 men being diagnosed with it in their lifetime - although more than 63 per cent of cases occur in men older age.

Specialist Doctors saying that: "The good news is that caught early, prostate cancer is very treatable. The best advice we can give is for men to take action if they suspect something isn't right. Very often symptoms will be for something less serious but why take the risk?"

DR AZADEH what is actually Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual contact. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease

Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty and although it is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in men, many never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes.

This is because cancer of the prostate is, in most cases, slow-growing, symptom-free, and since men with the condition are older they often die of causes unrelated to the prostate cancer, such as heart/circulatory disease, pneumonia, other unconnected cancers, or old age. About 2/3 of cases are slow growing, the other third more aggressive and fast developing.

Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer. The presence of prostate cancer may be indicated by symptoms, physical suffering. Suspected prostate cancer is typically confirmed by taking a biopsy, taking some tissues of the prostate and examining it under a microscope. Further tests, such as CT scans and bone scans, may be performed to determine whether prostate cancer has spread.

Treatment options for prostate cancer with intent to cure are primarily surgery, radiation therapy. Other treatments hormonal therapy chemotherapy, intensity focused ultrasound.

The age and underlying health of the man, the extent of sprat, appearance under the microscope, and response of the cancer to initial treatment are important in determining the outcome of the disease.

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system that helps make and store seminal fluid (sperm). In adult men, a typical prostate is about three centimetres long and weighs about twenty grams. It is located in the pelvis, under the urinary bladder and in front of the bowel. The prostate surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder during urination and semen during sexual contact Because of its location, prostate diseases often affect urination. The prostate contains many small glands which make about twenty percent of the fluid constituting semen. In prostate cancer, the cells of these prostate glands change into cancer cells. The prostate glands require male hormones, known as androgens, to work properly. Androgens include testosterone (male hormone)


An important part of evaluating prostate cancer is determining the stage, or how far the cancer has spread.

The most important distinction made by any staging system is whether or not the cancer is still confined to the prostate. After a prostate biopsy, a pathologist looks at the samples under a microscope. If cancer is present, the pathologist reports the grade of the tumour.

Signs and symptoms

Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Often it is diagnosed during a routine check-up.

Sometimes, however, prostate cancer does cause symptoms, often similar to those of diseases such as not cancer. These include frequent urination,  (increased urination at night), difficulty starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine,  (blood in the urine), and  (painful urination).

Prostate cancer is associated with urinary dysfunction as the prostate gland surrounds the prostatic urethra. Changes within the gland, therefore, directly affect urinary function.

Advanced prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body, possibly causing additional symptoms. The most common symptom is bone pain, often in the vertebrae (bones of the spine), pelvis, or ribs. Spread of cancer into other bones such as the femur is usually to the proximal part of the bone.


The specific causes of prostate cancer remain unknown. The primary risk factors are age and family history. Prostate cancer is very uncommon in men younger than 45, but becomes more common with advancing age. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 70. However, many men never know they have prostate cancer.

Autopsy studies of Chinese, German, Israeli, Jamaican, Swedish, and Ugandan men who died of other causes have found prostate cancer in thirty percent of men in their 50s, and in eighty percent of men in their 70s

Men who have first-degree family members with prostate cancer appear to have double the risk of getting the disease compared to men without prostate cancer in the family.

Medication exposure

There are also some links between prostate cancer and medications, medical procedures, and medical conditions. Use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as the statins may also decrease prostate cancer risk.

Infection or inflammation of the prostate  may increase the chance for prostate cancer while another study shows infection may help prevent prostate cancer by increasing blood to the area. In particular, infection with the sexually transmitted infections chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis seems to increase risk. Finally, obesity  and elevated blood levels of testosterone may increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Where in The Gambia you can seek information and advice

Specialist at RVTH and in numerous of NGO and private clinics in the country, also "THE FRANCIS DeGAULLE NJIE FOUNDATION (FDNF)" www.fdnf.gm, Tel. 8903104/ 3903104. The Point Newspaper and DR AZADEH on 7774469, 3774469