Education and early detection key in fighting prostate cancer

By Yolanda Moyo

ATTENTION has been drawn to the need for more information dissemination and health education campaigns on non-communicable diseases such as prostate cancer.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally exerting tremendous physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals, families and health care systems.

However, there seems to be a lack of knowledge on non-communicable diseases such as prostate cancer, among the male population.

A survey conducted by the ZBC News in Bulawayo this Wednesday revealed a general lack of knowledge about prostate cancer which has led to misconceptions.

“l do not know what prostate cancer is and l am 47 years old now. Now l realise that there is no information dissemination on the disease.

“I know there is prostate cancer but how l can know that these are the symptoms l don’t know because l have never been educated about it.

“Unlike cervical cancer, women can go and be screened and there are awareness campaigns but for us men there is nothing. Can the government do something for us also and decentralise the awareness campaigns,” said people who spoke to the ZBC News.

Experts are convinced that there is a need to fill the knowledge gap among the male population to ensure early detection of prostate cancer.

“People come here at a later stage and it is a stage that is not treatable. Men don’t know about this disease and sometimes it affects the bones,” said Blessing Goredema, Mpilo Hospital Oncology Nurse.

“There is a need to escalate awareness information on the disease. There is a need to have a culture of men going for check-ups regularly especially when they are 40 years and above.”

Symptoms of prostate cancer include the need to pass urine more frequently, blood in urine or semen and the feeling of the bladder not being fully emptied.

One of the best ways to detect prostate cancer early is through screening even before symptoms appear as the cure rate is almost 99 per cent at that stage.

Prostate cancer tends to progress slowly and less aggressively than many other types of cancer. If you detect prostate cancer in the early stages, there’s a very high chance of survival. 

Prostate cancer can be classified into four different stages, depending on how advanced it is.

In the first stage, the tumor is only affecting your prostate and hasn’t spread to other tissues. At stage 4, the tumor has spread to tissue beyond the prostate and possibly to distant parts of your body.