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Prostate Cancer and it's Screening By Dr.Altema MD

Prostate cancer for anyone who is Black is a matter of great concern regardless of one’s gender for 2 reasons:
1-For men. We have the highest rate of cancer among all ethnic groups and we also tend to have the most aggressive types. Jamaica for unknown reason carries the highest rate. 2-For women. In families, women tend to have breast cancer while the men have prostate cancer.
Besides, if one is a woman, the person who may be afflicted by it may be a husband, brother, father and so on. Same for man, if in a family, women are getting breast cancer, be on the lookout for prostate cancer among male relatives. Not infrequently a woman in a family is the one supervising the care and will be the one encouraging the husband, boyfriend, brother, cousin, dad, to seek the appropriate screening test or if truth be told, badgering the person(s) till it gets done.


Among Blacks, the answer is overwhelmingly yes for the simple fact that the prevalence (the number of people with the condition) is great. I can attest to the fact that the advent of the PSA method has made a big difference in the stage of diagnosis. I remember that 36 years ago when I was starting private practice that not infrequently the diagnosis was made when a male presented with inability to pass urine and unfortunately the disease might have already spread to other parts, especially the bones, a very painful condition. With the PSA method, the condition can be found very early. This disease occurs across social classes. Several colleagues have passed away from it over the years. Prostate cancer nests close to home. We need to encourage all males to have it done no later than age 40 as a screening test annually and in the event of strong family history of prostate cancer, even before. Cases of men younger than 40 having prostate cancer are not uncommon among us.
The digital rectal exam is also another screening method, but it is not as accurate as the PSA and it only accesses a limited part of the prostate. A lot of men don’t like having it done either. As a practical matter, the PSA has pretty much replaced the digital rectal exam as the primary means of screening for the condition.
Last but not least, the options available nowadays for treatment of the condition are numerous. We no longer rely on the old-fashioned first-generation prostatectomy that always resulted not only in urinary incontinence but also in impotence. In case of surgery, they have nerve sparing procedures available; the other options include radiation, hormone therapy, and even alternative methods of treatment. A rule of thumb to remember: the younger the stricken, the more aggressive the condition tends to be