With September being observed as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, President of the Caribbean Urological Association Dr William Aiken is warning men that screening for prostate cancer is the only way to guarantee early detection of the disease.
In an interview with JIS News, Aiken, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, explained that prostate cancer can be cured when detected early, and, as such, he is imploring men to get screened.
“The unfortunate thing is that in the early stages, prostate cancer does not produce any symptoms, so a man can feel perfectly well while there is a cancer growing and developing in him,” he said, adding that the only way to discover the disease early is through screening.
“We use this method to try to detect a disease early when the person has no symptoms, with the intention of being able to arrest the growth of the disease and ultimately prevent the person from dying from it,” Aiken said.
Aiken said he is recommending that as soon as men of African descent reach the age of 40, that they do a blood test called Prostate Specific Antigen annually, and also a Digital Rectal Examination.
This is vital, he said, as men of African descent are at increased risk of developing the disease.
“So, too, are men who have a family history, where the more persons in one’s immediate family with the disease and the lower the age at which they develop it, the greater the risk,” he added.
“We also know that with the increase in age, generally, men are at higher risk,” he noted.
Aiken said that in spite of their best efforts, men who have very healthy lifestyles can still develop prostate cancer, “so if you want to be around to see your children and grandchildren, do your family a favour and have the test done”.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting Jamaican men and the most common cause of cancer deaths in men.