Understanding Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month observed every September, serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of prostate health for men across the globe. This annual campaign aims to raise awareness about prostate cancer, its risk factors, prevention, early detection, and available treatment options.

In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, the key facts about prostate cancer, and what you can do to support this important cause.

prostate cancer


Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men worldwide. Epidemiological studies have revealed the prevalence of prostate cancer in Ghana as >200/100,000 compared to other West African countries such as Nigeria (127/100,000) and Cameroun (130/100,000) (Angwafo et al., 2003). In Ghana, among men, it is second to liver cancer as the leading cause of cancer among men.

Data from the Ghana Health Service shows that 3052 cases of cervical cancer were recorded in 2015 out of which 1556 died, representing 51%, Breast cancer also recorded 2260 cases with 1021 deaths, representing 45%, prostate cancer had 912 cases recorded with 680 deaths, representing 75%. This shows that more men die of prostate cancer annually than breast and cervical cancer in women.

Causes of Prostate Cancer

The exact cause of prostate cancer remains unclear, but several risk factors have been identified:

  1. Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, with most cases occurring in men over 50.
  2. Family History: A family history of prostate cancer, especially among close relatives like a father or brother, can elevate one’s risk.
  3. Ethnicity: African-American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than men of other ethnic backgrounds do. It affects about 60% of black men.
  4. Genetics: Certain inherited gene mutations may increase susceptibility to prostate cancer.
  5. Diet and Lifestyle: Diets high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables, as well as sedentary lifestyles, may contribute to the risk.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer often develops silently in its early stages, showing minimal to no symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, the following signs and symptoms may become apparent:

  1. Urinary Changes: This includes frequent urination, especially at night. Waking up to urinate three or more times overnight or so frequently that it affects adequate sleep may be an indicator. Weak urine flow, difficulty starting or stopping urination, and the feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
  2. Blood in Urine or Semen: The presence of blood in the urine or semen can be an alarming sign.
  3. Erectile Dysfunction: Prostate cancer may lead to difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection.
  4. Pain: Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, lower back, hips, or upper thighs may occur in advanced stages when cancer has spread.
  5. Bone Pain: Bone pain, fractures, and weakness can occur if cancer has spread to the bones.
prostate cancer signs

Preventing Prostate Cancer

While some risk factors for prostate cancer cannot be controlled, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and promote overall prostate health:

  1. Dietary Changes: Adopt a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consider incorporating foods high in antioxidants, like tomatoes and green tea.
  2. Exercise Regularly: Physical activity not only promotes overall health but may also lower the risk of prostate cancer.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is linked to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer, so strive to maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Limit Red Meat and Dairy: Reducing the consumption of red meat and high-fat dairy products may lower your risk.
  5. Annual Checkups: Regular checkups with your healthcare provider can help with early detection through screenings like the PSA test and DRE.
  6. Know Your Family History: Be aware of your family’s medical history, as genetics can play a role.
  7. Consider Genetic Testing: If you have a family history of prostate cancer, discuss genetic testing with your healthcare provider to assess your risk.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection is crucial for effectively treating prostate cancer. Regular screenings, such as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE), can help detect prostate cancer in its early stages when treatment options are most effective. It’s important for men, especially those at higher risk, to discuss screening with their healthcare providers.

Supporting Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

You can get several ways involved in raising awareness and supporting Prostate Cancer Awareness Month:

  1. Educate yourself and others: Take the time to educate yourself and your loved ones about prostate cancer. Share information about risk factors, symptoms, and the importance of regular screenings.
  2. Wear Blue: The color blue is associated with prostate cancer awareness. Consider wearing blue clothing or accessories throughout September to show your support and start conversations about the disease.
  3. Participate in Fundraising Events: Many organizations hold fundraising events during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. You can participate in charity runs, walks, or other events to contribute to the cause.
  4. Donate to Research: Consider donating to organizations dedicated to prostate cancer research. Your contribution can help fund studies that lead to better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.


In conclusion, knowledge is our most potent weapon against prostate cancer. By familiarizing ourselves with its warning signs, understanding the factors that contribute to its development, and adopting a proactive approach to prevention, we can reduce its prevalence and improve outcomes for those affected. Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is not just a time to learn; it is a call to action. Together, let us spread awareness, support research, and champion the cause of men’s health to ensure a future where prostate cancer is a preventable and manageable condition. With determination and solidarity, we can make strides towards this vision, one informed step at a time.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month serves as a reminder that men’s health matters and it is essential to prioritize regular check-ups, screenings, and a healthy lifestyle. Early detection can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment and a higher quality of life. By spreading awareness and educating our loved ones, and ourselves we can empower men to take control of their health and reduce the impact of prostate cancer on individuals and communities. Together, we can work towards a world where prostate cancer is not a silent threat but a manageable condition that can be conquered through awareness, prevention, and early detection.

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