Chennai: What was considered to be the cancer of the West is now seen among Indian men. Prostate cancer now takes the fifth position in the list of top 10 cancers. This rapid rise has taken place in just a few years and the incidence is high enough for oncologists to worry because this could turn out to be the biggest problem in the future.
“It’s not the number one priority now unlike the lung and colon cancer among men, but in future it might become a big issue. Earlier, prostate cancer was seen among the elderly population, after 50 and 55+ years, but now even men under 40 are diagnosed with prostate cancer,” said Dr T. Raja, senior consultant medical oncologist, Apollo Speciality Hospitals.
The data of the Indian Council of Medical Research recently released by the Union ministry of health and family welfare points to various types of cancer, including prostate cancer, being on the rise in the country.
It has said that the increase in the number of cases may be attributed to the ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles, use of tobacco and tobacco products, unhealthy diet as well as better diagnostic facilities.
The estimated prostate cancer in India in 2011 was 31,311 and it has increased to 37,055 in 2014 (till now). Of that number, Tamil Nadu’s share is 2,096. The presence of prostate cancer can be indicated by a PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which is a blood test. Urologists say it’s a slow-growing cancer and patients diagnosed with PC can go on to lead a normal life. Most men visit the doctor only when they find it difficult to urinate and that’s when the PSA test is suggested.
“The test is available in many places. Though there’s no specific way to prevent such cancer, it’s said that drinking pomegranate juice could help prevent it. However, we don’t know what the link between the juice and the prevention of prostate cancer is. What I see is men consume lot of fat. Most of the food they consume outside home are rich in high fat content,” says Dr Sankar Srinivasan, medical oncologist.
The doctor also said that vasectomy, which is a permanent birth control in men, may increase the chances of prostate cancer. “The problem is there’s no particular study and nothing has been proven and published yet,” he said.