Debunking 10 myths of prostate cancer
Myths of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate — a small, walnut-sized gland in men between the bladder and the penis, and located right in front of the rectum. This gland produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm, and is part of the male reproductive system.
According to the Singapore Cancer Registry report from 2018, the incidence of prostate cancer in men here is 33.4 per 100,000 in 2014 to 2018. It is now the second-most common cancer among Singapore men. However, prostate cancer is highly treatable in the early stages. Early treatment can yield five-year survival rates of more than 95%.
Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer [Prostate Cancer Treatment] Urologist Dr. Chong Kian Tai, AsiaMD
However, prostate cancer can still kill. So it’s important to get our facts straight about this cancer, which men can be screened for from age 50 onwards.
|Prostate cancer always grows slowly||While cancer cells can grow slowly among most men, they can grow at a steady but aggressive rate in some.|
|It does not need treatment||No matter how low-risk it seems, prostate cancer should be closely monitored by your doctor.|
|Prostate cancer does not kill you||Five- and 10-year survival rates of prostate cancer are high with early treatment, and if the cancer is localised. However, if the cancer has spread, survival rate can be as low as 13 months.|
|It will always cause urinary problems||Most patients with prostate cancer do not have urinary symptoms.|
|It is contagious and can be passed to my family member||Prostate cancer is hereditary but not contagious. Family history of prostate cancer in male relatives gives you a higher risk of prostate cancer. Family history of breast cancer in female relatives gives you a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer, too. However, prostate cancer cannot be passed to another person through sex or sharing toilets.|
|Prostate cancer incidence is low among Singapore men||No. Men in Singapore may have a lower rate of prostate cancer than their counterparts in the US, UK and Australia, but have a higher rate than their counterparts in other Asian countries. Interestingly, Chinese men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than Indian and Malay men.|
|Taking more supplements will always prevent prostate cancer||In a large study known as the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), participants who took vitamin E supplements were later found to have a slightly higher risk of prostate cancer.|
|Treatment for prostate cancer is not effective||Focal therapy for prostate cancer is an option to treat early-stage cancer. Focal therapy causes less urine incontinence, fewer erection problems and less sexual dysfunction when compared to major surgery.|
|Prostate cancer will definitely lead to sexual dysfunction||Even men with late-stage prostate cancer have several good treatment options to control their cancer and continue fulfilling lives.|
|It only affects older men above 70 years old||Prostate cancer can occur in young men as early as 40 years old. Screening is advised for men 50 years and older.|
This article has been fact-checked by Dr Chong Kian Tai, consultant urologist of Surgi-TEN Specialists at Farrer Park Hospital.