News / South Africa / Health

Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
4 minute read
28 Sep 2021
8:00 am

Cancer Association concerned by rise in prostate cancer diagnosis

Reitumetse Makwea

More than one in every 23 South African men develop prostate cancer in their lifetime while five men die from it every day.

Get your prostate checked on a regular basis. Picture: iStock

As September, prostate cancer awareness month, comes to an end, cancer advocates have urged men between the ages of 40 and 65 to screen for prostate cancer as more than one in every 23 South African men develop prostate
cancer in their lifetime while five men die from it every day.

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), while the current South Africa’s National Cancer Registry (NCR) registry was not up to date, the association has reported with great concern that the number of
men being diagnosed with latest age cancer was on the rise.

“The lifetime risk for prostate cancer in men in South Africa is one in 16, according to the 2017 National Cancer Registry,” Cansa wrote.

“Prostate cancer, is the most common male cancer globally and locally and showing significant increases. International and local research indicates that the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher in black men.”

The Prostate Cancer Foundation SA chief executive, Andrew Oberholzer said in order to raise awareness the foundation had urged men and women across the country to wear suits for the “Suit Up September 2021” campaign
on Monday.

“We will strive to ensure prostate cancer achieves the appropriate levels of awareness it deserves… All funds raised are used to support the education, awareness and research initiatives that we implement.”

Oberholzer also encouraged people to join the Hollard Daredevil Run in helping to bring awareness of both prostate and testicular cancer.

On Friday, 15 October, “people will see brave men in purple Speedos take to the streets of their neighbourhoods to run cancer outta their ’hoods”, he said.

“We encourage men, especially a man who is 40 and above and comes from those families where there is a first-degree creative who has had prostate cancer, especially at an early age, then they need to start screening,” he said.

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 174 650 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed and about 31 620 deaths from prostate cancer in the United States.

“Prostate cancer is a cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut or golf ball. It is found under the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum,” said the report.

“The prostate gland produces some of the fluids in semen. Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms.”

The Men’s Foundation said on average more than 4 300 SA men were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and based on international and local research, the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher in black
men.

Meanwhile, Cansa said men needed to be proactive about their health and recognise warning signs as the lifetime risk for prostate cancer in men in South Africa, was one in 16.

“We encourage monthly testicular self-examinations, annual medical check-ups and cancer screening for early detection, as symptoms don’t always present until cancer has spread,” Cansa added.

“Men also need to lead a balanced lifestyle, cutting out lifestyle factors that increase their cancer risk. Prostate cancer, is the most common male cancer globally and locally and showing significant increases.”

Cansa also said according to the 2017 National Cancer Registry, risk factors for prostate cancer include age, ethnicity, family history, being obese or overweight and some dietary factors appear to increase risk.

“Men can lower their risk of prostate cancer by eating a healthy diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting red meat and high fat dairy products,” Cansa said.

“With September being Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, it is important to know the facts before getting checked by a medical professional.”

When it comes to prostate cancer, global research indicates that approximately one in every four to six black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared to about one in every eight white males in their lifetime.

“When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night,” said the association.

Cansa added that pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss were also some of the symptoms.

“Knowledge is power and can change the lives of men drastically if they are aware of early warning signs and symptoms of male cancers,” said Cansa.

reitumetsem@citizen.co.za