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Prostate Cancer Research

While I applaud the progress made on many Women’s health issues men seem to be losing some ground in their areas of concern. One of these is Prostate Cancer, it is a serious health concern for men yet is rarely advertised or even seemingly funded for research.

The following is from a health site about the issue:

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia1 and the third most common cause of cancer death. One in 5 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85. It is more common in older men, with 63% of cases diagnosed in men over 65 years of age.”

One of the tests for Prostate Cancer is the PSA test, which tests for levels of the prostate specific antigen. While not an accurate indicator it is one of the very few tests available to help screen for the disease. Even digital rectal examination is not an accurate indicator but like the PSA test it helps detect changes in the Prostate.

Why is not more spent on making men aware of this disease, why is not more spent on research into it, why are there not more accurate ways of easily testing for this condition or the risk of getting it?

For those who may not be aware of the signs that it could be affecting them here are symptoms associated with it (these signs can also be for benign conditions so if you have them please see your doctor before getting too concerned):

Prostate cancer symptoms

The symptoms can include:

frequent urination, particularly at night
pain on urination
blood in the urine
a weak stream.

More widespread disease often spreads to the bones and gives pain or unexplained weight loss and fatigue.

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There is a lot of research but it does not have the visibility of other research, although that is slowly changing. Many of us are familiar with movember as a mode of donation.

There are a number of research umbrellas that can be found by googling. I think it has less visibility than womens’ cancers and others such as melanoma because men tend to be less talkative about things than women and it usually strikes us in older age, and prostate cancer can be so slow that sometimes it is best to watch and wait than to undergo treatment. Modern surgery (open or robotic) usually has at least 2 of 3 good outcomes (cancer, continence, erection) for most men these days, but many still worry so are afraid or hesitant.

Last comment, the ‘flavour of the decade’ robotic surgery takes a big chunk out of your pocket but other than a shorter recovery time apparently does not have better clinical outcomes than a skilled surgeon doing conventional open surgery. (a few esc’s will make the nagware window close)

Some of the related videos on youtube are very educational while others are no more than infomercials. It can be counterproductive discussing such things on a forum because some readers will select Dr.Google or Dr.Infomercial over their Dr.Urologist and do themselves a disservice or cause issues with their Dr.Urologist.

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Thanks for highlighting this.

Having gone through radical [they spared nothing] prostate (and partial bladder) removal, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It is a life changer, and not in a nice way.

I have been proselytising men whenever I could to regularly and frequently check their prostates, and to get broad ranging pathology tests for baseline readings of their health. These blood test results can be indispensible later if any health issue does arise. ( I was rushed into surgery for another issue, and afterwards the post operative care was complicated because the doctors didn’t know what ‘my normal levels’ were, but rather used their ‘standard levels’, which clearly I wasn’t.)

Even though I did the regular blood tests and the DREs, I was still rushed into surgery after a regular routine examinations. Things had obviously changed markedly over the course of under six months!

Women’s health issues are more prominent that men’s health issues, but that should not diminish the importance of men’s health issues.
from https://prostate-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics
"Prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2013. In 2013, it was also the most commonly diagnosed cancer among males. It is estimated to become the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2017, while remaining the most commonly diagnosed cancer among males …

In 2013, there were 19,233 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in Australia. In 2017, it is estimated that 16,665 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Australia."

“In 2014, prostate cancer was the 3rd most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia. It was also the 2nd most common cause of cancer deaths among males in 2014. It is estimated that it will remain the 3rd most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia and the 2nd most common cause of male cancer deaths in 2017”

This is looking at breast cancer only in women as more common that prostate cancer in men. If you include breast cancer in both men and women (remembering that men get breast cancer too, but not as frequently as women), prostate cancer becomes the 2nd most common cause of death.

So men, get checked regularly. It may not be fun, but it can save your life. And life goes on afterwards :slight_smile:

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I had prostate cancer detected 2012 my treatment was by Ray treatment which so far has prooved to hab been successful, I am very pleased.

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It is insidious, like all cancers I guess.

My dad had it, detected early. Had treatment, over time (years) it spread to a number of other areas nearby, went on a trial and it knocked the cancer back enormously - on a winner! Then they found a completely unrelated ‘glioblastoma’ (brain tumour) which got him.

When dad was diagnosed with the prostate cancer a close friend went in for a check ‘just to be sure’ and had fairly radical surgery almost immediately to remove prostate, bladder and god knows what else. No symtoms.

One of the doctors dad saw told him that they believed if something else didn’t get a bloke first, the hit rate for prostate cancer would be 100% … (ie if we lived long enough).

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My husband had a psa test, followed by surgery and chemotherapy, followed by death. His was an agressive cancer. I know of several men who prefer to gamble, either by not seeing their gp, or by delaying treatment. They choose to believe that prostate cancer is always slow growing!

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It is my firm belief that funds should be shared for cancer research into breast cancer and Prostate cancer ( because we’re worth it). Men’s health is just as important.

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I’ve gone through the lot at 70 years of age. Annual PSA tests by GP. Spike in PSA level between last year & this year (each January as part of a check & maintenance session). Rectal exam by GP then MRI (my full cost) to confirm that the signs of PC weren’t good. PC specialist then did rectal exam, with a full body bone scan (to see if iPC had spread) as well as a robotic biopsy confirmed the PC prognosis (still wholly within the capsule). 6 weeks of Physiotherapy before surgery, then a Radical Prostatetectomy via robotic surgery. 10 days with external urine bag, followed by 6 weeks more physiotherapy and 3 monthly PSA testing. “none detectable” was the results of the past 3 tests. NO incontinence. NO erections. NO Prostate Cancer. In rude health at the moment. Cost lots of $ (net), but was a small price to pay. My specialist says ALL men have some PC when they die, just that it hasn’t been detected. “Tell your sons to start having the PSA test early (25) and annually, as it’s very aggressive in young men”. Have been a vocal acolyte to family, friends and neighbours ever since. Please TALK ABOUT IT to all who’ll listen.

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I had BC many years ago. Being male I was unable and am still unable to access the services of Breast Screen Qld as they are allowed positive discrimination against males. I paid for my own Fine Needle Biopsy and it then took a further 6 weeks for the surgeon to remove the cancer by lumpectomy.

As the male population gets higher levels of obesity (which increases levels of Estrogen) more significant effects are found. Included is an increase in breast tissue and a larger risk of Prostate Cancer, Diabetes II, loss of muscle mass, depression and feeling tired. This increased level of Estrogen can also lead to an increased risk of Male Breast Cancer. Much of the increase in Male BC is hidden due to reluctance and lack of education of males to see their doctors about suspicious lumps in their breasts.

BRCA1 & 2 gene mutations are bad for men as well as the known risks to women. From the US Govt National Cancer Institute comes this “Men with BRCA2 mutations, and to a lesser extent BRCA1 mutations, are also at increased risk of breast cancer. Men with harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of prostate cancer. Men and women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations may be at increased risk of pancreatic cancer”

I don’t ever see the risks of the BCRA mutations being explained to men.

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The Government can’t even afford to breast screen all women who need it, so they limit it by age.

I am guessing that based on statistical analyses, as men are far less likely to get breast cancer they are excluded from the screening. Governments need to understand that far less likely does not mean men don’t get it. Many men do get breast cancer.

If a doctor believes there is something that needs investigation in a man’s breast, it is wrong that he should be discriminated against and not get the same investigative assistance as a woman.

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It is wrong, but on the flip side I assume you are familiar with the ‘tampon tax’. Government won’t let go of the revenue that clearly discriminates against women.

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I believe in the adage that we are what we eat and that it may apply to Cancers such as Prostate Cancer
I have read that eating cooked Tomato may slow or impede specifically Prostate Cancer, has anyone read
the same or knows if this is true please?

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In my mind that is a question for your ‘Dr.Urologist’ and his knowledge of current research and patient outcomes, not for an internet forum when you can and will get a range of opinions, often based on or mixed with facts, but sometimes divorced from fact and reality, and how does a layman tell?

It is increasingly common in these days of 24 x 7 copy and paste and publish ‘journalism’ where a researcher announces something that might be theory, suspicion, experimental evidence, or established fact, and the press will run with it, sometimes making it into a truth or a fait accompli in peoples’ minds as it gets replicated around the internet. Be wary about what sites and researchers are genuine regardless of topic, but especially with health issues.

Here is a 2015 text for your consideration. For those time challenged, the last line is ‘There remains a considerable body of evidence in favour of tomatoes and lycopene in the prevention or treatment of prostate cancer, not enough to be irrefutable, but enough for the idea to remain plausible.’

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Breast Screen Qld do more that mammograms they also do the FNB (Fine Needle Biopsy), arrange the pathology and provide support and aftercare all for free, but Males are not entitled to any of this even with a positive result to BC.

I complained at the time to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner but my case was refused under the positive Discrimination rule. I still have to either get Bulk Billed or pay for my on-going mammograms. I had to pay for my BRCA gene analysis which returned that I had the BRCA2 mutation, probably inherited from my father who had Prostate Cancer but was successfully treated for it.

I believe the doctor would have said something like: “almost 100% of men over 60 will have an enlarged prostate, and some will even have had (benign) prostate cancer. Many without even realizing it.”

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Sorry to hear about your trials & tribulations. Some women with BRCA2 have proactively opted to have bilateral mastectomies,

I just don’t understand the thinking behind excluding men with exactly the same gene mutation. After all, the cancers can attack men just the same as with women. I just don’t see how positive discrimination can be justified in this situation.

I sincerely hope that your BC has be dealt with for once and for all.

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I don’t agree that there is not much awareness of prostate cancer in Australia. Every men’s public toilet I go to usually has a notice about it, newspaper articles are common, various men’s health and related organizations’ web sites promote awareness, the medical profession has foundations which promote awareness [e.g. http://www.prostate.org.au/] and, I suspect, it gets a fair bit of air time on popular radio stations. The real problem is the macho male tendency to “crack hardy” and ignore important symptoms so that when they can no longer be ignored, a lot of the treatable damage has already been done.

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I found a lump in my left breast in 2001, and during the experience through to surgery did not feel discriminated against as a male (although many of the questions asked on forms were certainly not relevant to a male!). Any time when the topic of BC comes up, I always remind people that men can and do get BC, and that they should check and follow up on any signs! I have occasionally experienced scoffing by women when I raise the issue, but my mastectomy scar is a good response!

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It would be near impossible to perform a mammogram on most men. I have a female friend who is unable to have mammograms because of her almost flat chest. However, any change in her breast tissue is easy to pick up by self examination. Perhaps men should be encouraged to perform self exams. I agree there should be more awareness made of prostate cancer. It amazes me how many people live under a rock.

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I agree @johnn31 about the publicity in terms of public toilet ads and men’s health organizations web sites.

But, I would suggest that in the community-at-large there is a significantly lowed awareness of prostrate cancer and especially mens’ breast cancer than there is of womens’ breast cancer.

The tendency of men to minimize or ignore their own health has long been a problem that hasn’t been well addressed. Men (in general) need to be re-educated to be aware of, and to look after their own health.

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