More than two-thirds of men living in the UAE are at risk for advanced prostate and testicular cancer because they don’t know the symptoms and they don’t go to the doctor.
This comes from a survey of 1,000 residents commissioned by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, which is part of the hospital’s annual Movember-related men’s health campaign ‘MENtion It.’
“Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, while testicular cancer is the most common malignancy among men aged between 20 and 40,” says Dr. Waleed A Hassen, department chair of urology in the Surgical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
While the five-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent, this drops to 31 percent if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
What the survey found:
Seeing a doctor
• 62 percent of men admitted that they do not schedule an annual checkup with their doctor
• 28 percent claimed they didn’t see a doctor because they were too busy
• 22 percent said they didn’t see a doctor because they were scared
• only 29 percent of men said they would feel comfortable discussing urological issues with their doctor compared to other health problems
Reproductive cancer risks
• 62 percent of men did not know or were unsure about the common risk factors for prostate cancer
• 79 percent of men said that they did not know how to conduct a testicular cancer self-exam
Sick or in pain?
• 31 percent of men said that they would seek medical advice immediately if they were sick or in pain
• 29 percent of men would wait as long as possible to seek medical advice, to see if they felt better
• 15 percent of men said if they were sick or in pain, they would look for solutions online
Dr Hassen says the survey highlights a gap in community awareness about common and curable cancers that affect men.
“One of the challenges that we face is that prostate cancer is considered a disease of ageing, which is not the case, and is also one of the most asymptomatic cancers, so it is not considered a threat,” he said. “This means we typically only see patients at a very advanced stage.”
What to do:
• Conduct a monthly self-exam upon reaching puberty to note any changes or lumps as this is important for early detection
• Book a screening, which includes a clinical exam, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and a sonogram
• Cleveland Clinic advises men to begin scheduling routine checkups with a urologist from the age of 40, while the American Cancer Society advises checkups from 50
• Pay attention to even the slightest pain and any changes in urination patterns, or blood in the urine.
• Those with family history must be particularly vigilant
The article provided courtesy Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. To find out more about men’s health challenges and how to approach them, visit the MENtion it website.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.