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A visit to the urologist can save your life!

Prostate cancer is curable with a high survival rate – provided it is detected early. Problem is, in that early stage it has no detectable symptoms. What to do about it?

All men above forty should go for a screening every year, including a visit to the urologist. The infamously unpleasant prostate examination that deters most men – some of whom already suspect that something is not right with their male organs – is in fact a painless procedure. Gentlemen, the rumour is true: prostate examination is done through the anus, the specialist palpating the gland with his fingers, which, depending on your anatomy, might prove to be a slightly uncomfortable experience. But think about it – you can trade a few minutes of mild discomfort for peace of mind or an early diagnosis that could very well save your life. It is a no-brainer really.

With age, men often develop Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP), the enlargement of the prostate glands that manifests itself with typical symptoms: frequent but slow, hesitant and intermittent urination, a sudden urge to urinate especially at night, and sexual dysfunction. The inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) affects men of all ages. Symptoms include high fever, frequent or obstructed urination, burning pain and often purulent discharge with micturition.

Any change in urination, blood in the urine, sexual dysfunction, lumbar pain or aching bones can be the sign of prostate cancer. There are many factors behind the malignant condition: genetic predisposition, hormones, sexual activity and nutrition.

On that note, research shows that a healthy heart and cardiovascular system is the most effective protection against prostate cancer. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and smoking is a wise choice. So is drinking plenty of water, and having enough omega-3, vitamins C, A and E, carotin, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc in your diet.

GOOD TO KNOW

• Walking, swimming and yoga are the best activities if you have prostate problems.
• Running and long bike rides are not advisable with an enlarged prostate.
• Having sex at least three times a week could significantly decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
• Not every concern ‘down there’ belongs to the urologist. With haemorrhoids and lesions on the male genitals patients should consult a proctologist and dermatologist respectively.

DOCTOR’S ORDER

“Some 10% of erectile dysfunction are due to prostate problems. The main reason behind erectile dysfunction is a metabolic disorder of the endothelium – a membrane that lines the inside of blood vessels. Interestingly enough the risk factors are the same as for cardiac arrest, so from a medical point of view the two seemingly unrelated illnesses are in the same group. Hence the rule of thumb: erectile dysfunctions that last longer than three months dramatically increase the risk of heart attack within five years.
“Whatever your age, annual screening is highly advisable, similarly to gynaecological examinations! If women do look after their health so should men, booking that all important visit to the urologist once a year. Part of the check-up is an ultrasound scan, which can detect kidney stones, kidney tumour and carcinoma of the urinary bladder,” sums up the benefits of regular screenings Dr. Gábor Rosta, urologist surgeon at Dr. Rose Private Hospital.