Urologist talks prostate cancer screening and men’s health | Loop Trinidad & Tobago – Loop News Trinidad and Tobago

Prostate cancer mortality rates in Trinidad and Tobago are among the highest in the world, says urologist Dr Sateyndra Persaud, as he called for a more proactive approach to screenings and seeking information. According to data gathered by the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Registry, prostate cancer accounts for roughly 37% of all cancer deaths in men.

The director of the Caribbean Urology Clinic in San Fernando and urology lecturer at the University of the West Indies spoke with Loop News about the urgency of creating greater awareness around screening and treatment, as well as the genetic origins of this type of cancer.

Dr Persaud addressed the widespread reluctance to get checked due to reservations about the digital rectal exam, stressing that it doesnt make you any less of a man.

He also said that while several patients prefer only to take the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test instead of the rectal exam, the recommended approach would be to have both done, as cancer is only really picked up by the rectal exam. Its possible for a patients PSA test results to be normal, even if they have cancer.

The PSA test is a simple blood test, the ideal reading for which should be less than 4 ng/ml, with lower values expected for younger men. A reading of 4 would be the norm for men over 50 years of age. Sexual intercourse, horseback riding and bike riding, as well as infection can also cause higher readings, and while ones reading should generally be stable, there are mild fluctuations based on daily habits and activities.

Screening can save lives, he said. He acknowledged that while more men are coming forward to get screened, there is still a fair amount of hesitancy that should be rooted out. He applauded the efforts of the Ministry of Health for their recent screening drives, which attracted high numbers of patients. We need to get the message out there, he emphasised.

A prostate cancer diagnosis is, no doubt, frightening and unpleasant news; all the same, Dr Persaud explained that the survival rate of prostate cancer is high compared to that of other cancers, and with the right caremuch of which is on offer locallypatients can experience a full recovery. The key to this success is often early diagnosis, which requires commitment to consistent screening.

We have a lot of treatments for prostate cancer locally, Dr Persaud confirmed. Radiotherapy, prostatectomy (removal of the prostate), and brachytherapy (a form of radiation treatment in which the radiation source is placed inside of the body for a localised approach) are among these. Chemo, he said, only becomes a consideration if the cancer spreads from the prostate to other parts of the body.

He added that, depending on the stage of the cancer and the condition of the patient, radiation, chemotherapy and surgery may not even be necessary. For low-risk patients with slow-growing cancer, active surveillance is yet another, non-invasive approach that involves careful monitoring of the cancer, warranting invasive or radiotherapy treatment if the cancer appears to be growing.

As a lecturer, Dr Persaud is committed to education both in and outside of the classroom, and often does radio and television interviews to enlighten members of the public about prostate health, and to continue his crusade of encouraging men over 40 to get screened regularly.

In these efforts, he sometimes collaborates with cancer support group, SMARA, founded by Patricia Tikasingh. Trinidad and Tobago Mens Health Information Page is another of Persauds awareness initiatives that he uses to regularly post key information on issues related to mens health.

Although he said that there is a lack of conclusive data to show that certain foods can prevent developing prostate cancer, he advised that cultivating healthy habits through establishing a good, sustainable diet and an exercise routine, as well as maintaining a healthy weight can help to lessen the chances of developing the disease.

Dr Persaud warned against smoking, explaining that in addition to lung cancer and heart disease, it can lead to bladder cancer, as well as erectile dysfunction. Along with premature ejaculation, he encouraged more open dialogue about the latter condition. We need to destigmatise sexual health issues, he advised, in an effort to stimulate more discussion of the subject.

He also encouraged men, especially those under the age of 40, to examine themselves for testicular cancer, as it is largely a disease that is seen in younger men.

Dr Persaud mentioned that prostate cancer does, in fact, have a genetic component. He referenced a recent paper he published with colleagues; the study used samples taken between 2012 and 2014. Of the biopsies performed during that period, 72.1% were from Afro Trinidadian men. The paper reads, ...over half of our biopsies were eventually positive for cancer, and most of our cases are high-risk.

Men who have a family history of breast cancer are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, especially those who show a mutation of the BRCA1 and 2 genes. These are responsible for repairing cell damage and promoting healthy cell growth, and persons displaying a mutation in one or both of these genes can be at a higher risk for certain cancers. There is a 50% likelihood of passing the mutation to their children.

Explaining that funding for research is lacking, Dr Persaud said: We need to appeal to corporate entities to step up more...to formalise and create some kind of structure as it relates to patient support and a centralised data-driven registry, to in turn, drive further research. Along with his colleagues, Dr Persaud is awaiting the green-light to launch a new prostate cancer research initiative which picks up where the late Dr Alan Patricks work left off.

He reminded of efficient local resources for screening, citing the Family Planning Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society (TTCS) for their efforts to make these facilities welcoming and accessible. Dr Persaud is also planning to offer a day of free screening and education through his own clinic toward the end of the month.

Visit the Trinidad and Tobago Mens Health Information Page for talks, tips and information on screening.

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Urologist talks prostate cancer screening and men's health | Loop Trinidad & Tobago - Loop News Trinidad and Tobago

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