The detection of prostate cancer in Sri Lankan men is often made when the disease is at an advance stage. The reason for this can be that men wait till the symptoms become unbearable before consulting a doctor or it is often misdiagnosed as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition of elderly males,which shares similar symptoms. In either case the consequence can be fatal.
The deciding factor for this silent killer can be a few simple tests done regularly once a man turns 50 years of age. While this is common practice in western countries, where it is the most common solid cancer in elderly men, tragically Sri Lankans will often suffer in silence. This leads to the diagnosis of the disease only at an advance stage where the probability of survival has dropped dramatically. Early detection can give the benefit of curative treatment.
If the cancer is detected early, thanks to the availability of modern facilities and the required expertise, surgical and non-surgical options are available as treatments. Surgery would involve the complete removal of the prostate, however, if the patient cannot undergo such physical trauma then radiotherapy could be employed to manage the cancer.
Dr.ArunaIndika Nandasena, Consultant Genito-Urinary Surgeon at Nawaloka Hospital Negombo, explains that symptoms such as difficulty to pass urine, a burning sensation when passing urine, high frequency of urinating or an uncontrollable urge to urinate can be symptoms of either BPH or prostate cancer. It is only when the cancer has spread beyond the prostate do other symptoms begin to emerge at which point it can be too late. People exhibiting these symptoms should consult an urologist.
“Prostate cancer is on the rise in Sri Lanka but it need no longer to lead to early death. If detected early through regular checkups it can be contained and allow the patient to retain his quality of life. However, it is up to the patient to make sure he gets regular checkups and visits an urologist when the first sign of symptoms emerge,” says Dr. Nandasena.