Prostate cancer is the most frequent tumor in men in Argentina. More than 11,600 cases are detected each year, which is more than the sum of the cases in men of kidney cancer (3,370), pancreas (2,357), stomach (2,549) and testicle (2,047). Furthermore, it is not as benign and inoffensive as the popular imagination believes; Unfortunately, it is the third type of cancer that causes the most mortality in men in our country (more than 3700 per year, which is equivalent to more than 10 deaths per day) and the fourth, considering both sexes.
The ACIAPO Foundation, Comprehensive Community Care for Oncology Patients, has been working to raise awareness of the need to detect this cancer in time and stresses that the best strategy is to have a primary care urologist and perform frequent check-ups. They listed the following 5 reasons to suspect prostate cancer:
1. Changes in urination: “You don’t have to wait until you have urological symptoms to make a medical consultation. The best medicine is the one that anticipates and arrives before the disease progresses. Therefore, we always insist on the importance of going to the doctor. Women have incorporated the need to perform a mammogram every year, but men still do not go to the urologist, not even in the presence of symptoms”, said Marta Artigas, Founder and President of ACIAPO.
The frequent urge to urinate (especially at night), the difficulty to do so, the weak flow, among others, are urological symptoms that come over the years and men assume -wrongly- that they are inevitable and that they respond only to the passage of time. weather. The symptoms of prostate cancer are different for each man; in fact, some have no symptoms at all.
Fernando Romanelli, Coordinator of ACIAPO Programsstressed that “doctors always insist that all changes in urination, including pain, burning or bleeding, must attract attention, because they may be reflecting the existence of a urological disease, which may not be cancer, and hopefully no, but -in any case- the person should request an appointment with a urologist, without letting more time go by”.
2. Other urological manifestations: the presence of blood in the semen and/or pain when ejaculating are already a sign and a symptom that should guide the doctor that something is happening in the urinary system, so he will surely indicate studies to explain its cause.
3. Pains: persistent pain in the back, hip or pelvis, surely they are not symptoms that make one think of prostate diseases, but, if they persist over time, it is pertinent to see a doctor to identify the origin of these pains and rule out any major problem, because the truth is that they could be signs of prostate disease.
4. Family history: having or having had a first-degree relative with prostate cancer (father or brother) doubles the risk of developing the disease. “It is not something that should generate alarm, but enough awareness not to postpone a medical consultation. In fact, the usual indication to go to the urologist from the age of 50 is anticipated at 45 or 40 due to the existence of a history”, they insisted from ACIAPO.
5. Age: being over 50 years old increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. The passage of time is a risk factor, perhaps the most forceful. For this reason, having a head urologist, one can talk in each consultation about which study is the most convenient to carry out in each opportunity, taking into account the particularities of each case.
Broadly speaking, the different treatment options are active surveillance (follow-up of the evolution without indicating a specific treatment), surgery, radiotherapy, cryotherapy, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
After the diagnosis, the doctor -in dialogue with the patient- will determine the best steps to follow based on the stage of the disease, its evolution, the age and general condition of the patient. “In either case, if you don’t have cancer, it’s best to find out as soon as possible. It is news that nobody wants to hear, but it is always better to do it sooner rather than later, because Medicine will have more tools to manage it”, he concluded. Martha Artigas.