An expert has called for the establishment of an effective screening programme for the third most common cancer affecting men in the country.
Prof Dr Yasser Farahat, chairman of the Scientific Office of Emirates Urological Society (EUS) and secretary-general of Arab Association of Urology (AAU) said that an increase of up to 18 per cent was expected in prostate cancer patient between 2020-2021.
“Prostate cancer is also known as the silent killer since it develops without symptoms,” said Dr Yasser while speaking to Khaleej Times.
“The only way is to screen early on and prevent the disease from spreading,” he said.
He, however, said that while the US and Europe had developed protocols and screening programmes for the disease, screening for prostate cancer in the Middle East was being done on an individual basis only.
“We have nothing on the country level that is the reason why we are working with health authorities in the country to establish a similar programme for screening in the country,” he said.
Dr Yasser said that the exact extent of the disease could not be assessed especially in the northern emirates due to lack of data.
As per the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) data, 4,500 cases are reported per year. In 2014, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD) reported 1,700 cases.
“This shows a significant presence of the disease in the UAE,” he added.
Talking about the causes, Dr Yasser said that genetic types played a big role, especially among Europeans, Africans and Americans.
“There is a genetic factor present in the Arab world too, but it is not that significant. That is the reason we do not have huge numbers as compared internationally, however, they remain significant,” said the doctor.
Lifestyle is also a cause among other factors. “They do not affect directly but redispose to increase the incidence of prostate cancer,” he said.
“This control is in a person’s hand since they can avoid preservatives, artificial colours, alcohol and smoking.”
Prostate cancer is also strongly related to age, he said. “It does not usually affect young people so we will be focusing on people above 50 years of age,” said Dr Yasser.
Prostate cancer symptoms
Urinary symptoms of prostate cancer:
Because of the proximity of the prostate gland in relation to the bladder and urethra, prostate cancer may be accompanied by a variety of urinary symptoms. Depending on the size and location, a tumour may press on and constrict the urethra, inhibiting the flow of urine. Some prostate cancer signs related to urination include:
> Burning or pain during urination
> Difficulty urinating, or trouble starting and stopping while urinating
> More frequent urges to urinate at night
> Loss of bladder control
> Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream
> Blood in urine (hematuria)
Other prostate cancer symptoms:
Prostate cancer may spread (metastasize) to nearby tissues or bones. If cancer spreads to the spine, it may press on the spinal nerves. Other prostate cancer symptoms include:
> Blood in semen
> Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
> Painful ejaculation
> Swelling in legs or pelvic area
> Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
> Bone pain that doesn’t go away, or leads to fractures