The average age at which prostate cancer is being diagnosed has dropped considerably in recent years, a team of Irish researchers has reported.
In a recent study, researchers at the University Hospital Limerick found that the average age of men with “high grade” prostate cancer had decreased from 71 to 63 in the last decade.
Prolific form of cancer
Prostate cancer is one of the top five cancers affecting South African men, according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). It is estimated that one in 23 South African men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. The World Cancer Research Fund International has noted that prostate cancer is now the second most common cancer in men.
Although the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, it does not only affect older men. In addition, it has also been shown, that individuals of African descent and those with a family history of the disease are more at risk.
Early detection vital
The Urology Hospital’s Dr Francois Duvenage emphasised the critical importance of early cancer detection: “When detected early, prostate cancer survival rates, in particular, are very high” he added.
He encouraged men to have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to screen for prostate cancer annually from age 40, and if tested positive, they should immediately be referred to a urologist for early treatment. This may include regular active surveillance or monitoring by a urologist in low-grade cases and in more severe cases, surgery.
Robotic surgery has led to a dramatic improvement in the treatment of prostate cancer and was pioneered in SA by The Urology Hospital, Pretoria. Benefits include less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to work.