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Updated: February 11, 2010 18:51 IST

Be health wise

Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty
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A lot of well-known personalities suffer from prostate cancer, Nelson Mandela is one.
A lot of well-known personalities suffer from prostate cancer, Nelson Mandela is one.

Know how to keep the problem of the prostate gland at bay

If you have crossed 50, then you are a potential case for prostate enlargement. And if you are above 60, it is time you go through the screening tests. Says Dr. Anshuman Aggarwal, senior urologist at New Delhi's R.G. Stone Urology and Laparoscopy Hospital, “Age is an important factor for prostate enlargement. About 60 per cent of men over 60 years suffer with non-cancerous enlargement of prostate.” Out of this figure, “some also develop a cancerous enlargement of it which can be life threatening if not treated in time.

Prostate is a small walnut sized gland around the male urinary tract which grows in the aging male leading to problem in urination. The usual symptoms of an enlarged prostate are:

Poor stream while passing urine

Interrupted urine flow

Retention of urine

Difficulty in starting flow

Increased frequency of urine

Getting up frequently during the night for urinating

Not having the satisfaction of complete empting of the bladder

Dr. Aggarwal says the best way to avoid a prostate problem is to regularly get your blood test done including checking your PSA (prostate specific antigen) test. A wholesome vegetarian diet, low intake of dairy and animal products, avoiding alcohol and smoking besides maintaining an ideal weight can also keep it at bay. “It can't be called a lifestyle disease but it can affect a lifestyle surely,” he adds. If detected early, he says, “Surgery can be avoided because medicines will do the job.” In case you have a family history of cancer or infections, “you should be doubly careful in getting your screening tests done besides regularly consulting an urologist.” Even a drop of blood in the urine should not be taken lightly. “The doctor should be consulted right away.”

The senior urologist says incidences of prostate cancer and prostate enlargement have increased in the country primarily because there is more awareness among people today. “Many cases get reported today because people know about the problem. I get a lot of patients every week complaining of prostate enlargement and a few with prostate cancer,” he says. However, compared to the western world, we are far below in numbers, he adds.

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