If you are male and over 50 years old or know someone that it is, talk about prostate cancer. This month we celebrate the Blue November (Novembro Azul), a worldwide campaign to warn men of the need to early prevent and diagnose the disease. Campaigns are extremely important in helping to combat the fear and prejudice that surrounds the issue, especially regarding the rectal exam. The more information you have, the easier it is to deal with this. And women play a major role in disseminating information, helping to raise awareness and talking about it with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. When identified early on, the disease has a high chance of cure.
Every year, various entities support and promote actions to publicize the campaign and help raise awareness among the male public about the need to take care of their health in general. Blue November is equivalent to Pink October (Outubro Rosa), a campaign that warns women about breast cancer.
This year, the campaign of the Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU) has the theme "Be a hero of your health" and is sponsored by chef Henrique Fogaça and former soccer player Zico. Watch on here to the video with Fogaça.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type among Brazilian men, behind only non-melanoma skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
According to the Side by Side for Life Institute (Instituto Lado a Lado pela Vida), 59% of men do not usually go to the urologist. Data from the Unified Health System (SUS) show that 45% have never performed the exam.
Identifying the tumor at an early stage greatly increases the possibilities of treatment and cure. Detection can be done through investigation, through prostate exam and blood test. However, neither exam is 100% accurate. Therefore, further examinations may be required. Biopsy is the only procedure that can confirm cancer. Other imaging exams may also be asked, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and bone scintigraphy (to check if the bones have been hit).
Even those who have no symptoms should consult a urologist if they are 50 years old or older. For the so-called risk groups - black, obese, and those with first-degree relatives with prostate cancer - the ideal is to start at the age of 45 years old.
The disease is considered an elderly cancer, as about 75% of cases worldwide occur from the age of 65 years old. The increase in incidence rates in Brazil may be partly explained by the evolution of examinations, the improvement in the quality of the country's information systems and the increase in life expectancy.
Early diagnosis yields better treatment outcomes and should be sought by investigating signs and symptoms such as:
Decrease of urine jet
Need to urinate more often during the day or night
Blood in the urine
According to Inca, most of the time, these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but it is important that they be investigated by a doctor.
Remember that in the early stage, the disease usually does not show any signal. Many men have no symptoms or, when they do, are similar to those of benign prostate growth (difficulty urinating, need to urinate more often during the day or night). In the advanced phase, it may cause bone pain, urinary symptoms or, when more severe, generalized infection or kidney failure.
According to Ministry of Health, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat grains, especially those of animal origin, helps to lower the risk as well as other chronic noncommunicable diseases.
Other healthy habits are also recommended, such as doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, maintaining proper weight, reducing alcohol consumption and not smoking.