Prostate Cancer

What every male should know

The prostate gland is a small organ that is found only in men. The gland is located below the urinary bladder, and the urethra runs through it. The normal function of the prostate gland is to make part of the seminal fluid or semen that is released during ejaculation. The semen also carries and nourishes the sperm. The prostate can be affected by cancerous or non-cancerous enlargement or infection.

Cancer of the prostate develops in the prostate gland and the cancer cells may eventually spread outside the gland to other parts of the body. Prostate cancer is generally slow growing and progressive, Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers in men worldwide, and is the number two cause of cancer deaths among men in South Africa.

Risk Factors

Although the actual cause of prostate cancer is not known, the following risk factors have been identified:

  • Age is the major risk factor.Men over 50 years are at risk. More than 80% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65 years.
  • Family history / Genetic factorsIf a father or brother had prostate cancer, there is an increased risk of getting the disease
  • Unhealthy DietThere is a relationship between a diet high in animal fat and protein (especially red meat), and prostate cancer.

Reducing the risk of Prostate Cancer

The following guidelines should be observed:

  • Annual screening from the age of 50 years
  •  If there is family history of prostate cancer, annual screening is advisable from the age of 45 years
  • Diet low in animal fat and protein is advisable The health professional would advise you to have a blood test and a rectal examination.

The blood test would measure the level of a protein called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the blood. If the blood test results show an increased level of PSA, you will be referred for further investigation.

Any condition affecting the prostate can cause the PSA level to rise. A rise in PSA does not mean that the person has cancer.

Rectal examination would confirm the presence or absence of prostate cancer. This examination generally discourages men from seeking medical advice. It is vital to understand that this examination must be performed for your health and well-being.

The Importance of early detection

The early detection of prostate cancer greatly improves the success of treatment. It is your responsibility to look after your own health. You should seek advice from a health professional.


Treatment would be appropriate for the diagnosed condition .


Ongoing pain without explanation requires medical attention.

Should you have any concerns about your health, please talk to a health professional at your nearest clinic.

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This page last edited on 31 May, 2023

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