Prostate Cancer And Men’s Health: A Call To Action — Dr Meyharshnee Gunaseelan

The effects of prostate cancer extend beyond the diagnosed individual, affecting families and communities, creating emotional and financial burdens that strain the health care system.

As someone who has seen the impact of prostate cancer, I want to shed light on this silent battle, not just in Malaysia, but worldwide.

It’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and the general public to understand the gravity of prostate cancer, its consequences, and how we can collectively make a difference. Let’s take a step towards a healthier future. 

In Malaysia, prostate cancer is the seventh most common cancer and the third most common cancer among men, accounting for 3.6 per cent of all male cancer casesm according to the Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report 2012-2016.

The lifetime risk is one in 94 for all males, translating to one in 117 for Malays, one in 72 for Chinese, and one in 108 for Indians, highlighting the need for awareness. Globally, it’s a significant health concern, with over 1.4 million new cases each year. 

The effects of prostate cancer extend beyond the diagnosed individual, affecting families and communities, creating emotional and financial burdens that strain the health care system. Early detection and treatment are essential to mitigate these effects. 

Prevention plays a crucial role, advocating for a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and smoking cessation to significantly lower the risk of prostate cancer. Routine screening is emphasised, especially for men aged 50 and above, or those with a family history of the disease. 

Addressing the alarmingly low rate of prostate cancer screening in Malaysia is a major challenge, rooted in a lack of awareness, fear of diagnosis, and misconceptions about the screening process. A comprehensive public awareness campaign and open dialogues about men’s health are necessary. 

Raising awareness, improving screening rates, and reducing the burden of prostate cancer are shared responsibilities. Collaboration can make a significant difference in the fight against prostate cancer. 

Men often face more significant health challenges and live an average of five years less than women. Closing this gender health gap requires prioritising men’s wellbeing.

Men’s health deserves attention, with an emphasis on taking an active role in health care, regular screening, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and promptly addressing health concerns. 

Creating awareness about men’s health issues is essential, facilitating open conversations through targeted educational campaigns in schools, workplaces, and communities.

Emphasising the importance of regular health screening, including prostate cancer screenings, is vital to drive home the significance of preventive measures.

Harnessing the power of personal narratives by sharing stories of men who have triumphed over health challenges offers inspiration to take charge of well-being and break the stigma surrounding men’s health. 

In the quest to create supportive communities contributing to men’s health improvement, concrete steps involve organising community health outreach programs and workshops providing free health check-ups and consultations.

Collaboration with local organisations and leaders to host awareness events is equally vital, addressing both physical and mental wellbeing openly and comprehensively.

Establishing judgement-free spaces where men can openly discuss health concerns, share experiences, and receive emotional support fosters an environment promoting overall wellbeing for men. 

Prostate cancer and men’s health are intertwined issues that deserve attention. By raising awareness, promoting early detection, and encouraging healthier lifestyles, a future can be created where both men and women lead longer, healthier lives.

Remember, we’re all in this together, and together, a healthier and more equitable society can be built for all. 

Dr Meyharshnee Gunaseelan is the Community Health Outreach lead at National Cancer Society Malaysia.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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