For Movember, I wanted to write an entry every day relating to men’s cancers, but… Well, let’s face it. I have a newborn and am in charge of all household duties since my partner is out of still commission with a herniated disc.
Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in men. Now, that might sound scary, but we should look at all the facts before we scare ourselves with this very short-sighted realization. There are 189,000 new cases per year and 30,200 deaths from prostate cancer.
Although it is some-what common, prostate cancer is usually a very slow progressing cancer and it affects older men rather than young or middle-aged men. That said, the majority of sufferers are more likely to die from old age than they are from the cancer itself. A lot of the deaths that are pinned on prostate cancer are assumptions rather than autopsy-concluded deaths. In other words, prostate cancer is blamed for deaths that could have easily been a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, old age, etc. since it is a convenient scape goat for deaths in the elderly population. The male population, of course 😉
The treatment for prostate cancer is fairly invasive. Most surgeries involve going in through the penis for a prostate resection or tumor removal, followed by placement of radiation directly into the remaining gland or surrounding area. One major side effect of this is erectile dysfunction. For a lot of elderly men, they opt not to receive the surgery since it is not likely to claim their life for 10 or more years and they would rather have a fulfilling sex life for a decade or longer than to potentially have a longer life with a non-functioning penis.
Yes, elderly have sex lives and no, there is no point in life where it is considered “natural” to lose interest in sex after you have reached puberty. This is an incorrect assumption that we humans would lose interest after a certain age.
That said, once you reach a certain age — 45 for people of colour, 65 for others — rectal exams are always a good idea. This unpleasant exam consists of the physician or nurse practitioner inserting a digit (finger) into the rectum and palpating (feeling) the size of your prostate.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common issue with men of advanced age and can be detected via digital exam as explained above. BPH, as it is commonly referred to as, can cause mild discomfort and difficulty in initiating a urine stream. It can also cause urinary incontinence. As a result of the urinary issues, it is not uncommon for sufferers to get frequent urinary tract infections due to the retention.
Check yo self before you wreck yo’self. Thus concludes the second post relating to male health for Movember.