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‘Men should examine their testicles every month’

Written by on May 6, 2024

Urologist Golda Stellmacher urges all men between the ages of 15 and 50 to do a monthly self-examination on their testes to detect any signs of testicular or prostate cancer, such as hard bumps.

“Monthly testicular self-exams are crucial for prostate cancer detection, as early detection save lives,” says Dr Stellmacher, while those with cancer in the family history should be examined from the age of 35 for other urological cancers.

Prostate cancer risk rises with age, increasing from age 50 onwards, she says.

She calls on men to be part of the national urology outreach program, scheduled for June, July, August and September at the towns of Orandjemund, Katima Mulilo, Oshakati, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Keetmanshoop.

The next outreach will take place from 13 to 18 May at Orandjemund, where specialists in urology will create more awareness on kidney, bladder, prostate and testicular cancer, Dr Stellmacher says.

She says yearly prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests for cancer and digital rectal examinations (DRE), referring to when one has to feel the prostate with a finger in the anus, are not easy tasks to do, but they are still very important.

PSA blood tests on its own are not enough, as blood only picks up 25% of prostate cancers, the doctor says.

Prostate cancer and risk factors

A diet high in fat, family history of cancer, race and an age of 50 years and above are amongst the most common factors contributing to urologic cancers .

Other risk factors include adenomas, smoking and obesity.

Ministry of Health and Social Services spokesperson Walters Kamaya says prostate screening is incorporated in the ministry’s annual outreach program.

Men aged 15 and up are vulnerable to testicular cancer, with an increased risk associated with undescended testicles.

Regular check-ups are crucial, with men aged 40 advised to visit their doctors every three years, and those aged 50 every one to two years for PSA blood tests and DREs.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is another concern, mostly among overweight men and those with chronic renal failure on dialysis.

Dr Stellmacher says symptoms such as a slow or weak urine stream, pain in the back, hip or pelvis, swelling in the legs or feet, difficulty or inability to pass urine, blood in urine or semen, frequent need to pass urine, should not be ignored.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in February, released the latest data on the interactive web-based platform presenting global cancer statistics to inform cancer control and cancer research globally.

According to the new data on cancer released by the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) in February, prostate is the lead cancer in Namibia.

CAN chief executive Rolf Hansen urges the media to report on this data to help create awareness, educate and help the association promote early detectionthrough screening programmes nationwide, adding that Namibia has an alarmingly high cancer incidence rate compared to the rest of Africa.

He says CAN calls for the decentralisation of critical cancer care in Namibia, as well as access to oncology services in other regions of the country, other than the Khomas region.

“We need serious interventions for cancer in Namibia,” Hansen adds.

The post ‘Men should examine their testicles every month’ appeared first on The Namibian.

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