By Evie Andreou
Four hundred new cases of prostate cancer are recorded each year in Cyprus, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis said on Tuesday.
Patsalis, who spoke at a news conference to mark information week on prostate cancer organised by Europa Uomo, said that nine out of ten cases of prostate cancer detected in Cyprus are at an early stage.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men of mature age and in most cases develops very slowly without extensive damage, but it is the second most common cause of cancer deaths [in men] after lung cancer,” Patsalis said.
He added that it was important that all men over 50 underwent screenings and the prostate-specific antigen blood test (PSA), as the early stages of prostate cancer, may be asymptomatic.
“The combination of these two methods is necessary as the EU does not consider the PSA as an exclusive tool for screening, but stresses that for a comprehensive diagnosis additional tests are always necessary, like the digital rectal examination and ultrasound,” Patsalis said.
The basic risk factors are obesity, age and family history, Patsalis said. Prostate cancer is rare among men under 45.
“Men who are first degree relatives with prostate cancer patients face double risk of presenting the disease compared to others,” Patsalis said.
He added that high blood pressure and lack of exercise were also risk factors.
Patsalis said that while treatment choices in the advanced stages of prostate cancer are limited, there are more choices at the primary stages when it can be fully treated.
Prostate cancer is in most cases not aggressive and responds positively in hormonal treatments and chemotherapy, the minister added.
The head of the Limassol hospital’s oncology clinic, Simon Malas, said that in Cyprus one in three men diagnosed with cancer in 2011 had prostate cancer.
It is the most common type of cancer among men, while in women it is breast cancer.