November is prostate cancer awareness month, a condition that 1 in 10 men suffer from. Regular monitoring and prompt diagnosis are keys to better treatment
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, affects 1 in ten, and totals 1.3 million people in the world. One in forty will die from this type of disease, which is preventable.
In this sense, these figures could be drastically reduced if men adopted the habits that women accepted many years ago: that of having gynecological examinations annually.
Dr. Gonzalo Vitagliano, Oncology and Urolaparoscopia Section Chief of the German Hospital of Buenos Aires is one of those advocating a change in thinking. “Modern men have to understand that we must go to the urologist in the same way that women go to the gynecologist, it is something simple”; considers the University specialist in Urology, Fellow in Urolaparoscopy and Master in Uro-oncology.
“We have to change the way we think: men are used to solving the problem when it is already installed. On the contrary, the mental gymnastics that we have to perform is that we must anticipate because it is better to prevent. It’s something that women have understood for a long time, ”she adds.
How to prevent prostate cancer and at what age to make the first visit
Regardless of the age of the person, to prevent prostate cancer you do not have to wait to feel any symptoms or indication that something is not working as it should.
Nor is it necessary to settle for a clinical check-up “because there are patients who are left with a half-diagnosis, and they usually consult a urologist when the problem has already been unleashed,” the expert considers.
Vitagliano remarks that the first check-up should be carried out at age 50, but this is the case when the man does not have a family history of any type of cancer.
“The specialist begins by making a picture of the situation, and if he sees that the patient has a family history of the urological or gynecological oncological disease, he suggests starting with the control from the age of 45”, he clarifies.
Furthermore, when a direct relative has had prostate cancer at an early age, it is best to make the first consultation at age 40. “The steps are very simple,” says Vitagliano. The urologist orders an ultrasound of the kidney, bladder, and prostate, and a test of prostate antigen, the famous PSA. Based on these results, it will carry out the other pertinent studies ”.
The key is early detection
The most important thing, specialists emphasize, is to detect tumors in curative stages. “Earlier stage prostate tumors can be cured. However, when it exits the prostate, treatment will focus on preventing progression rather than achieving a cure.
“A little over a decade ago, prostate cancer was synonymous with diagnosing and treating without differences, but today we can much better select which patients will require treatment, in such a way that being diagnosed is not synonymous with being treated ”, explains Vitagliano.
In this context, he says that several of the consequences of prostate cancer treatment have managed to be minimized by new technologies.
“Also in terms of prevention, urology has been revolutionized by the hand of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of the prostate and biomarkers that have made it possible not only to determine the presence of the tumor in the local stage but also to be able to predict its aggressiveness through genetic traces ”, he emphasizes.
For this reason, he reaffirms, although there are now numerous advances, such as focal therapies and minimally invasive robotic surgeries that have made it possible to treat prostate tumors while minimizing collateral damage; the best decision is still to anticipate this stage and perform an early check-up.
” Prostate cancer in its early stages is completely asymptomatic, so it is necessary to have periodic check-ups to find it in its curative stage,” adds Vitagliano.
In short, you have to change the chip and adopt the customs that women have already accepted for many years. Instead of waiting for the problem to appear, we can anticipate and prevent it with simple control. That is why early consultation with the urologist is essential.