“The Movember campaign, which encourages men to grow moustaches each November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, has helped raise the profile of prostate cancer. Statistics such as “one in eight Australian men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime” provide men with an impetus to see their general practitioner (GP) and get tested for prostate cancer.
That’s good, right? Well, not quite. Not all men should be tested for prostate cancer. In fact, for some men, it can do more harm than good.
Testing for prostate cancer involves the use of two tests which can be done individually or in combination: the digital rectal examination (DRE) and the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
The DRE was commonly used as a front-line test for prostate cancer before the PSA test became available in the early 1990s. Use of the DRE in testing for prostate cancer is limited, since it is impossible to examine the entire prostate gland due to the anatomical location of the prostate gland itself.
Given the limitations of the DRE, the PSA test is commonly used as the front-line test for prostate cancer. PSA is a protein that is made in the prostate gland and can be measured via a blood test to assist in diagnosing prostate disease.
The PSA test is not cancer specific, as a raised PSA level may also be indicative of a benign growth of the prostate gland or an inflammation of the prostate gland.
So I finally found something in the local media about prostate cancer.
Here are some of the points mentioned in the article:
“Men with prostate cancer tend to reflect on masculinity and what it means to be a man, specifically when their sex lives and bodies change due to treatment of the disease, concludes a recent study in Norway.
Researchers did in-depth interviews with 13 men aged 52 to 68 and nine spouses aged 52-68. The spouses were not married to any of the 13 men in the study to minimize the danger of revealing sensitive information. This allowed the spouses to speak freely without worry.
During the study, they found that men thought the health system focused too much on impotence as a possible side effect. As they were just diagnosed with prostate cancer and having to deal with a potentially life-threatening disease, they said they are not as interested in hearing advice about Viagra and sex with their partners. The researchers recommended that less focus should be paid to their ability to get an erection.
They also found that older men were able to accept that their sex lives had changed and that they felt it was better to extend their lives with treatment rather than have a functioning penis. Sexuality was more important for younger men, specifically those who were around 60 years old.
Men who were taking hormones to decrease the production of testosterone to extend their lives saw changes in their bodies that are similar to women going through menopause. Most of these men were able to figure out a way to adjust to these changes. Other men suffered from incontinence, but none admitted to having to wear diapers. However, the spouses who were interviewed talked about their husbands having to wear diapers, and that they have to make light of the situation to make it less embarrassing.
The spouses who were interviewed also admitted that it was sad that their sex lives had ended sooner than they wanted, and that it can have a negative impact on the relationship. However, they would not tell this to their husbands in order to protect their masculinity. In some cases, women said the disease brought them closer together.
Researchers conclude that prostate cancer needs to be talked about openly without the stigma associated with it. “
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