Early prostate cancer screening vital


HE was lying lifeless in ward B4 of Parirenyatwa Hospital. He passed on in the presence of his wife, children, friends and relatives. They were now comforting each other.

Mr James Shumba (not his really name) had been suffering from prostate cancer since it was diagonised late. From then, he was struggling health wise.

Medical staff had tried their best to keep him alive.

It started as difficulty in urinating but as a person with extra marital affairs and also who believed in witchcraft, he thought someone has cursed him. He did not consider seeking clinical medical attention.

Mr Shumba shared his problem with some friends who kept advising him to take traditional herbal medicine. Mr Shumba loved a traditional herb mixture popularly referred to as “Guchu” in vernacular language.

It was after two years that his son returned from South Africa, that the offspring forced him to seek clinical medication. That is how he ended up in Parirenyatwa Hospital.

Prostate Cancer is cancer that occurs in a small wall nut-shaped grand in males that produces the seminal fluid which nourishes and transports sperms.

It is one of the most common types of cancer. Most types of prostate cancers grow slowly and are confined to the prostate gland, where they may cause serious harm.

However, while some types of prostate cancer grows slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Prostate cancer that is detected early when it’s still confined to the prostate gland has the best chance for successful treatment.

Prostate cancer does not usually cause any symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the urethra.

Some of the symptoms are trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, bone pain and erectile dysfunction.

These symptoms do not always mean one has prostate cancer. Many men’s prostate get larger as they get older because of a non-cancerous condition called benign prostate enlargement. Signs that cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unintentionally loss of weight.

It’s not clear what causes prostate cancer. Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate develop changes in DNA. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do.

The abnormal cells continue living when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissues. In time, some abnormal cells can breakaway and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

November is Men’s health awareness month. It is important to join hands in fighting cancer and promoting screening for early treatment. The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe is trying its level best their best to give as much awareness as possible on cancer in the country.

Vemuganga Community Radio is one media platform that is taking part in fighting against cancer. Its Production and Programs Officer has said that the radio station has lined up local Ndau language programmes this month that encourage men to get screened of cancer.

“The role of a community radio is to educate, inform and entertain. November is the men’s health awareness month, we are inviting experts on radio to educate men on prostate cancer,” he said.

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