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Six Common Myths About Prostate Cancer

Finding out more about a disease condition online is a double-edged sword. Misinformation is highly possible.  Let us help you separate the myths from the facts.

Myth 1:  Only Old Men Get It
Whilst the incidence of prostate cancer increases with age, more and more prostate cancers are being diagnosed in younger men.    Age isn’t the only factor that increases risk – your race, family history, physical health and even geographical locations are other factors to consider.      About 1 in 12 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. 

Myth 2:  Prostate Cancer Is Slow Growing So There’s No Need To Be Concerned
Many prostate cancers are slow growing tumours that will remain limited to the prostate gland and have no effect on a patient’s lifespan.  However, metastatic prostate cancer can spread quickly to other organs.  While almost 95 per cent of prostate cancer is slow growing and found in males above 60 years, some 5 per cent is fast growing and typically found in younger men.     Prostate cancer is a complex disease and doctors cannot always predict how fast or slow it will grow.

Myth 3:  Prostate Cancer Is Not Treatable
That is not true.  There are many treatments for fast-growing or metastatic cancer. However, once the disease has spread beyond the prostate to other parts of the body and organs, treatments can only control symptoms and reduce further spreading.  The chance for a complete cure is reduced. 

Myth 4:  You Can’t Achieve Orgasm If You’re Being Treated for Prostate Cancer
Some treatments like hormone therapy and radiotherapy may reduce the production of semen and hence the intensity of your ejaculation.  This however does not mean you cannot experience orgasm.  What you experience is called a “dry orgasm” as your sperm cells are reabsorbed into your body instead of being ejaculated out.  This may take a bit of adjustment for the man and their partner but with patience and effort, enjoyment of sex does not have to stop when you have prostate cancer. 

Myth 5:  If It Does Not Run In My Family, I Won’t Get It
Whilst family history is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer and a man with a family member with the condition is twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than a man without a family history of the disease      , it does not rule out the risk of getting prostate cancer completely.  There are many risk factors associated with the disease such as ethnicity, age, health condition and even geography. 

Myth 6:  The PSA Is A Cancer Test
False.  The PSA is a blood test that measures levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSA) used as a first step in the diagnostic process for prostate cancer.  Men with prostate cancer usually show a higher level of PSA.  Think of it as an alarm that will help you detect prostate cancer early when treatment is most effective.

However, a high level of PSA does not always mean you have prostate cancer.  There are other conditions related to the prostate which can also increase PSA levels.  If your PSA is high, the next step is a biopsy test to determine if its cancerous.

What is prostate cancer?