Mon | Nov 30, 2020

Take charge of your health: Get tested for prostate cancer

Published:Wednesday | September 23, 2020 | 12:11 AM

Regional medical epidemiologist at the Western Regional Health Authority, Dr Maung Aung, has said the country continues to see an increase in the incidence of prostate cancer.

Dr Aung, who was addressing the Misty Blue Cancer Care Foundation’s teleconference recently, is attributing the continued rise to “low health-seeking behaviour among the island’s men and low screening numbers”.

He cited the stigma surrounding the digital rectal exam, a method used to examine men for the disease, as a reason why many of them avoid screening.

As a result, he said, 70 per cent of patients are diagnosed by symptoms presented when the disease is in an advanced stage.

Prostate cancer refers to the malignant growth of cells in the prostate gland and is one of the most common cancers that affect men globally.

Health promotion and public education officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, in his presentation, encouraged citizens, particularly men, to take responsibility for their health.

“When we take responsibility for our health, it prevents the State from spending resources that could have been used to advance other areas in our economy that are in need of assistance,” he noted.

Miller said the belief held by some men that visiting the doctor is “weak” needs to change, as it is one of the factors that prevent them from taking charge of their health.

The teleconference was held in observance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which is being observed in September.

The Westmoreland-based Misty Blue Cancer Care Foundation is spearheading several online conferences up to December to highlight statistics and trends relating to cancers.

These are being streamed on various social media platforms on the second Wednesday of each month between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Members of the public can tune in to these events on Zoom, the Misty Blue Cancer Care Foundation’s YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as the JIS’s YouTube and Facebook pages.