Singapore was not prepared to learn that our leader Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is battling with prostate cancer. When we hear the word “cancer”, we often think about the worst case scenario. Thankfully, this is not the case for the Prime Minister. He underwent surgery on February 16, 2015 to remove his prostate gland. He took one week leave to fully recover and so far, things have been well for him.
Anyone can be a victim of cancer. In fact, according to the Singapore Health report, prostate cancer is the fifth most common cancer here in the country. It is therefore important for us to know things about it so we will know how to deal with it. The National Cancer Institute provided a booklet on prostate cancer so everyone will be aware. Here are some contents of the booklet:
- What is a prostate? The prostate is a part of the reproductive system of males. It is located in front of the rectum, below the bladder. Prostate mantles urethra. The ideal size of prostate is only about the size of a small nut. If it enlarges, it will crush the urethra which will impede the normal flow of one’s urine.
- Growths in the prostate: Growth in one’s prostate can either be benign or malignant. If it is benign, they do not usually cause harm to the surrounding tissues. As for the malignant growths, they may cause a threat to one’s life. Prostate cancer is malignant.
- Stages: There are four stages of prostate cancer. Stage I is the earliest state, and is usually treatable with no lasting effects; while Stage IV is the most advanced stage wherein cancer cells have spread to the other parts of the body.
- Treatment: There are different treatments for prostate cancer. Men can choose surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. If the patient agrees to it, different treatments may be done to him but the treatment will depend on the male’s age, health,stage and symptoms.
- Surgery: For males who are still in the early stage of prostate cancer, surgery is often the best treatment. The surgery will remove the whole prostate and the nearby lymph nodes.
- Post-surgery: After the surgery, there are patients who will lose control of their bladder or urine flow. This is called urinary incontinence. Most patients are expected to gain full control of their bladder after a week; however, urinary incontinence is permanent become permanent for others.
- Specialists dealing with prostate cancer: When we are enduring prostate cancer, it is important to know the specialists or experts behind the success of our treatments. There is the urologist (a specialist in the urinary tract), urologic oncologist (a specialist in treating cancers relating to the urinary tract), medical oncologist (a specialist in treatment of cancer with drugs), and radiation oncologist (a specialist in radiation therapy).