By Peter Stevenson
FOUR HUNDRED cases of prostate cancer are reported every year Health Minister Petros Petrides said on Monday but added that nine out of ten of those cases were caught at an early stage.
Speaking at a press conference on prostate cancer organised by Europa Uomo, Petrides said that prostate cancer was the most common type of cancer in older men and in most cases it grew very slowly without causing significant harm.
“It is the second most common cause of death from cancer after lung cancer,” he said.
The one positive aspect of prostate cancer, the health minister added, is that it can be diagnosed early as long as men are made aware of it and do something about it.
“Because prostate cancer may not present many symptoms at an early stage, with additional symptoms being similar to those of benign prostatic hypertrophy, it is important for all men over the age of fifty to undergo screening, combined with digital rectal examination and measurement of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood,” he said.
Petrides added that combining the two methods of diagnosis are necessary as the EU does not consider PSA as the only necessary screening test. He stressed that additional tests such as digital rectal examination of the prostate by a urologist and an ultrasound were crucial.
Regarding initial prevention, the health minister said that the main risk factors are obesity, age and family history, adding that prostate cancer is very uncommon in men younger than 45.
“Men directly related with people who have prostate cancer have double the possibility of getting the disease than those who do not have a history of it. Men with high blood pressure who do not exercise are likely to develop prostate cancer,” he said.
Prostate cancer can be treated compared to other cancers as most cases are non-aggressive and tend to respond positively to hormone therapy and chemotherapy.
“Overall, the five year survival rate in early stages of prostate cancer comes to 100 per cent. While the treatment options for advanced prostate cancer are limited, options at early stages of the disease are many,” he said.
Speaking about methods of diagnosis and treatment, Petrides said that patients in Cyprus can take advantage of some of the most modern chemotherapeutic and modern surgical techniques available. He said that the health ministry, even under difficult financial circumstances, will ensure that patients in Cyprus will continue to receive quality treatment.