Free PSA testing for the win
Astellas and The Prostate Cancer Foundation teamed up in September (Prostate Cancer Awareness Month) to provide free prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing.
A total of 12 private hospitals took part in this initiative and a total of 1 241 PSA tests were carried out. The PSA test is a blood test to assist in the detection of prostate abnormalities. A high PSA score can be due to prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate, or an infection. The PSA is best done together with a digital rectal examination.
The aim of this initiative was to raise awareness about the risks of prostate cancer and to encourage men to consider age and risk-appropriate screening to ensure the early detection of prostate cancer.
The hospitals that took part included:
- The Urology Hospital (Pretoria);
- Life Flora Hospital, Netcare Pinehaven Hospital, Clinix Shepo Themba Private Hospital, Morningside Mediclinic and Netcare Olivedale Hospitals (Johannesburg);
- Life St George’s Hospital, Life Mercantile Hospital and Life Isivivana Private Hospital (Gqeberha);
- Life Kingsburg Hospital and Durbanville Mediclinic Hospital (Cape Town);
- Life Entabeni Hospital (Kwa-Zulu Natal).
164 raised PSA levels
Andrew Oberholzer, CEO of The Prostate Cancer Foundation, reported that of the 1 241 tests completed, a total of 164 patients reported a raised PSA and required further investigation.
“Many of these men were unaware of the risks of prostate cancer and had never undergone a PSA test. All men with a high PSA were contacted by The Prostate Cancer Foundation to ensure that they understood the importance of taking appropriate action.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men in South Africa and is showing significant increases. The lifetime risk for prostate cancer in men in South Africa is approximately 1 in 4 for black African men and 1 in 8 for white males. International and local research indicates that the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher in black South African men.
Race is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, with black African men having a 60% increased risk for prostate cancer. They are also about 2,5 times more likely to die from the disease.
“The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends screening for men of African origin from the age of 40 and from age 45 for all other ethnic groups. Early detection is key and those with a family history of prostate cancer should also be screened from the age of 40,” Andrew explains.
He adds, “There are usually no symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages. Screening regularly may have the benefit of early cancer detection when prostate cancer is still potentially curable. Once it has metastasised there is no cure.”
For more information on prostate cancer, please visit The Prostate Cancer Foundation on prostate-ca.co.za
This article is sponsored by Astellas Oncology in the interest of education, awareness and support.