By Jessica Onyegbula
Abuja, Sept. 23, 2020 Dr Suleiman Salisu, the Consultant Urologist, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, on Wednesday advised men to screen regularly for Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), after the age of 40 to prevent prostate disease and death.
Salisu, who gave the charge in an interview with journalists in Abuja stressed that prostate disease is the second most common cause of all deaths among men.
The consultant explained prostate as a small gland located underneath the bladder in men and it is a part of the reproductive system.
”Prostrate is a gland in every man and it can be afflicted by disease. Not all diseases of the prostate are life threatening, the greatest concern and threat to the prostate is the prostate cancer.
”This is because cancer can spread if it’s not identified promptly. This can lead to death.
“The benign age-related prostate disease can be managed without any threat to life, except complications exit.
”So, whether it is benign prostate enlargement or prostate cancer, particularly the early one, there is no big deal in dealing with them.
“There are reliable treatments and they should not be life threatening; it depends on how the patient manages it,” he said.
According to the Consultant, the causes of the prostate disease cannot be homogenised because you have different forms of prostate disease.
Salisu also said that the common one that afflicted men was the benign prostate enlargement.
“Benign prostate enlargement is an age-related affliction. As the man ages, there is a chance that the prostate will grow.
Apart from men who are castrated before puberty, virtually every man will have a benign prostate enlargement.
”This is because it is a sign of aging, although it is not in all men that the disease is associated with symptoms.
”As for prostate cancer, we cannot particularly say this is the exact cause like in many other cancers, although there are risk factors that have been identified.
”Such risk factors include race. It is a lot more common in blacks than in other races.
“Another risk factor is family history. If someone in the family had prostate cancer, then the chances that the offspring would have the disease is high,” he added.
According to Salisu, the earliest time to detect prostate enlargement is when there are no symptoms at all and that can only be possible where there is a robust screening programme and the tool for screening for prostate cancer is PSA.
”The hormone in the body that is produced by the body is called PSA.
“When the person goes for periodic PSA testing, and it is discovered that the PSA is high, suggesting cancer, it warrants further checks which may confirm the cancer.
”This is one of the earliest ways of detecting prostate cancer. Some are detected incidentally, as a result of a general screening for other disease conditions.
”Once it starts showing symptoms, it may or may not be considered as early any longer.
“Even within the group that has symptoms, there are those that still have the localised forms.
”Therefore, an additional way of detecting it early is early presentation.
“Once a man starts experiencing difficulty in urination and he comes immediately to the doctor for a check-up, this is another way the cancer can be detected early.
”Once there are systemic symptoms like bone pains, chest pains, coughing up blood etc. that may suggest advanced disease.
“Some cases may even have spread to the spinal cord and of course may cause paralysis,” he said.
He suggested that after the age of 40, every man should have a PSA test done adding that depending on what the PSA showed the person might need to see a doctor for a clinical examination of the prostate.
”This is particularly for those who have a family history of prostate cancer. By 50, every African man should have at least one PSA test done. It is the earliest pointer,” Salisu said.
The Urologist said that the second stage is what is called the localised disease, being in people that have the local symptoms of prostate, which are predominantly urinary difficulty symptoms.
”The later stage is the advanced stage, which may imply the locally advanced or a metastatic disease. This means it has advanced beyond the prostrate to surrounding structures.
”Such men may be seeing blood in their sperm; they may have difficulty with defecation or see blood in the stools; they may also have systemic symptoms like the eyes becoming yellow (jaundice).
”When this happens, it means that it has affected the liver and we can start seeing swelling of the skull and other parts of the body.
“Predominantly it is in the bones, the spine and the chest.
”If it is in the bones, they can have hip pain or pathological fracture.
“Small impact that shouldn’t break the bone will break it.
“If it spreads to the spine, there will be weakness in the leg. In the chest, it is more of a cough, chest pain and bloody stools,” he added.