Men Tackling Prostate Cancer Together
1 November 2021 – Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men globally and the number one cancer affecting all South African men (National Cancer Registry 2017), with 1 in 17 men being at risk for diagnosis in their lifetime. International and local research indicates that the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher in black African men. It’s vital to note that prostate cancer tends to run in families. CANSA encourages men to get to know their family history of cancer and symptoms, not delaying age-appropriate prostate screening, as many men die unnecessarily from the disease due to late diagnosis. View infographics…
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Gerda Strauss, CANSA’s Head of Service explains the important role men can play in encouraging one another to take charge of their health. “We know that cancer has a strong tendency of running in families, so we urge men with a family history of cancer to not only take responsibility for their own health, by going for prostate screening, but to also encourage other male relatives (and friends) to get checked.”
Prostate cancer is detectable with a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. Prostate Specific Antigen PSA is a normal enzyme produced by the glandular tissue of the prostate – it’s always present in the blood, however, a reading of three or higher may indicate inflammation of the prostate or even cancer. If a father, brother, or son has had prostate cancer he needs to encourage other males in his family to go for check-ups from at least 40, due to their higher risk of the disease or if their mother, grandmothers, sisters or aunts had breast cancer, as this is also a risk factor. There is a relationship between a diet high in animal fat and protein (especially red meat), and prostate cancer.”
Strauss continues, “Sons whose fathers have not had prostate cancer should encourage their fathers to go for regular PSA tests from the age of 45, as well as grandfathers, uncles, family friends, neighbours or even colleagues. PSA tests are available, by appointment, at CANSA Care Centres nationwide for R180. Costs are kept low to assist with covering the consumables used to conduct the screening. Patients with medical aid benefits can claim from their medical aids once they have paid for the screening. Testing can also be done via local health clinics, health care practitioners if you present with symptoms.”
Professor Riana Bornman, (Senior Research Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences University of Pretoria, CANSA funded researcher and writer of Research Detective Booklet ‘South African Prostate Cancer Study Survey’ emphasises, “It’s important for men to go for an annual prostate screening as it improves the chances of detecting prostate cancer in the early stages before it has spread outside the prostate. Well established risk factors for prostate cancer include older age, family history of the disease and African ancestry. Screening should start from the age of 45 years; but it should start from the age of 40 in black African men and in men who have a family history of prostate and / or breast cancer in a first degree relative.”
Strauss adds, “CANSA is hosting a Prostate Cancer Webinar on 18 November 2021 to discuss the experience of a prostate cancer patient in South Africa, with experts in the field sharing their guidance and experience. We welcome all prostate cancer patients, survivors and loved ones to join us. Details to follow at www.cansa.org.za to register. ”
“We’re also proud to be launching our first CANSA’s ‘Men supporting Men’ Cancer support group on Saturday, 27 November 2021 – details to follow at www.cansa.org.za . What makes this support group special is the fact that it is facilitated and attended by men with different kinds of cancers. The need for men to come together in a space where they can feel comfortable and understood will be an opportunity for many men to reach out and join these online monthly sessions. We welcome all men that have cancer, are in remission or who have been a survivor for some time.”
CANSA also offers various support services through our dedicated virtual and online support groups as well as our tele counselling line to men affected by cancer.
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.
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