Septem­ber is Prostate Aware­ness Month–we re­port from the front line

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One Kiwi man in eight will re­ceive the sober­ing news that he has prostate can­cer at some time in his life – so if that’s not you it’s likely to be your brother, fa­ther, son, grand­fa­ther or good mate. Early de­tec­tion can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove your chances of re­cov­ery, which is why the work of the Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion of New Zealand is so im­por­tant in en­cour­ag­ing men to talk about their health is­sues and get a checkup if they’re wor­ried, and why Con­fi­tex is supporting their Blue Septem­ber aware­ness cam­paign.

So what is the prostate any­way?

The prostate is a gland the size of a wal­nut that lives just be­low a man’s blad­der. Its job is to pro­duce se­men.

Am I at risk?

Prostate can­cer is most of­ten di­ag­nosed in men who are aged over 65. It’s un­com­mon un­der the age of 50, but you are at higher risk if a close fam­ily mem­ber, such as your fa­ther or brother, has had prostate can­cer.

Can I do any­thing to pre­vent it?

There’s no magic for­mula that guar­an­tees you won’t get prostate can­cer, but eat­ing a healthy diet, keep­ing a healthy weight, lim­it­ing al­co­hol to no more than t wo drinks a day and reg­u­lar ex­er­cise may help.

What symp­toms should I look out for?

I f you ex­pe­ri­ence a f re­quent urge to pee, need to get up of­ten dur­ing the night, or have poor urine flow or trou­ble start­ing or stop­ping uri­na­tion, it’s im­por­tant to tell your doc­tor.

How is it di­ag­nosed?

Start by hav­ing a chat with your doc­tor – you can take a sup­port per­son if you like. Ini­tial test­ing is likely to in­clude a blood test and a dig­i­tal rec­tal exam. I f there’s any ab­nor­mal­ity i n ei­ther, you’ll be re­ferred to a urol­o­gist for a biopsy, which is when a small sam­ple of the prostate tis­sue is re­moved and ex­am­ined in a lab.

How is it treated?

Not all prostate can­cer needs to be treated. Some men can live with slow­grow­ing prostate can­cer for many years, and choose not to un­dergo treat­ment. In other cases your doc­tor may rec­om­mend treat­ment, which could in­volve ra­dio­ther­apy, hor­mone treat­ment, chemo­ther­apy or surgery to re­move the prostate gland.

What are the side ef­fects of treat­ment, and how can they be man­aged?

Side ef­fects will vary depend­ing on the treat­ment but they of­ten in­clude uri­nary in­con­ti­nence, which many men find dis­tress­ing. Af­ter surgery you are likely to need a catheter for a week, then for the next t wo or three weeks you will prob­a­bly need four or five pads a day to cope with heavy blad­der leak­age. Over time as leak­age re­duces and the blad­der re­learns con­trol, many men find Con­fi­tex ab­sorbent un­der­wear gives them peace of mind for those in­ter­mit­tent, un­ex­pected episodes. They’re de­signed to look, feel, wash and dry just like or­di­nary undies, but with leakproof fab­ric tech­nol­ogy built into the pouch so no pads are needed.

How can I help?

Con­fi­tex sup­ports Prostate Can­cer Aware­ness, so for ev­ery pair of men’s blue leakproof un­der­wear or­dered from our on­line store dur­ing Sept - Nov 2018 we’re giv­ing $5 to the Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion of New Zealand. To stock up now while the giv­ing’s good, visit con­fi­ and click the ‘Men’ tab. Con­di­tions ap­ply.

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