I share a free translation from the interview published by the newspaper Hoy Los Angeles in relation to the book ‘Don’t Fear the Finger’.
By Selena Rivera
For many men the idea of having a finger inside the rectum to palpate any lumps or abnormal growths on the prostate is a nightmare; for some, apart from how uncomfortable this might be, it also represents a “threat” to their virility.
However, early and regular check-ups could save their lives, according to the urologist René Sotelo from the health centers of the University of Southern California.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in males, behind lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society about one man in 38 will die from this disease.
A glandular organ that lies below the bladder and in front of the rectum produces semen.
“Prostate cancer, as any other cancer, is the uncontrolled growth of the cells of the body” Dr. Sotelo states.
Symptoms include frequent urination, weak or interrupted urine flow or pain while urinating, painful ejaculation, blood in the urine or semen, or an uncomfortable pain in the back, hip or pelvis. Nonetheless, these symptoms may also be signs of other diseases.
In many cases there are no symptoms in the early stages of the cancer. Besides, this disease may develop slowly”, Dr. Sotelo affirms.
That is why, it is necessary that, starting at age 50, all men begin to have a digital rectal exam.
“This exam allows a doctor to detect lumps or abnormalities. Unfortunately, for many men in our society this is a taboo subject; while others do not go to the doctor for fear of the result. This causes that many patients go to the doctor when the disease is in its advanced stages”, Dr. Sotelo states.
Today, a patient can also have a blood test that measures the level of a protein produced by the prostate. Higher than expected levels of this protein may mean that a tumor is present; it can also be a sign of an infection or an enlargement of the glandular organ.
The exact causes of prostate cancer are not known. Risk factors include family history and diet in men who eat large amounts of animal fat, he says.
“Likewise, it has been reported that the incidence of cancer is higher in countries with hotter weather”, Dr. Sotelo explains.
Prostate cancer may be a serious disease; however the majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from this disease if it is treated in time, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Other good news is that nowadays there are several treatments that may help patients, depending on their age and the stage of their cancer. “The key is that you ‘Don’t Fear the Finger’ and visit your doctor”, Dr. Sotelo, who wrote a book with this title, stresses.
Other facts found by the ACS:
About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2015.
About 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer were reported during 2015.
About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40.