Prostate cancer a growing problem in Malaysia

Prostate cancer is the sixth most frequent cancer in Malaysia and accounts for 5.7 per cent of cancer cases in males. — APF pic
Prostate cancer is the sixth most frequent cancer in Malaysia and accounts for 5.7 per cent of cancer cases in males. — APF pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Prostate cancer is the sixth most frequent cancer in Malaysia and accounts for 5.7 per cent of cancer cases in males.

According to the Malaysian Oncology Society, very few prostate cancers occur in men under 50 years of age but the rate increases sharply with age and is highest in the oldest age group.

There is a worldwide variation in the incidence of prostate cancer. The highest incidence is seen in Western countries. On the other hand a low incidence is seen in Asian countries, such as Japan. However, when Asians emigrate to the United States the risk of developing the disease increases within one generation. This shows the importance of environmental factors.

“In Malaysia, the Chinese record the highest incidence of prostate cancer compared to Malays and Indians. Research is being conducted to identify genes that may predispose people to develop the disease,” a statement on its website read.

There is also evidence that a diet high in fat increases one’s risk, because such a diet may have an impact on the male sex hormone, testosterone which controls the growth and function of the prostate.

The symptoms include difficulty in urinating, blood in the urine and the urge for more frequent urination. A minority of patients experience bone pain due to cancer that has spread to the bones.

“Survival of the patient with prostate cancer is related to the size of the tumour. If the cancer has spread to the other organs, current therapy will not cure it.

“Prostate cancer is a treatable disease. However, its management can be complex. It is important that patients are offered various treatment options and play a role in the decision-making process.”

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