Get your sex organs checked, men

Nurul Fatiha Muah
01 Jan 2022 03:07am
(Illustrative purposes)
(Illustrative purposes)
The Covid-19 pandemic has struck a chord in many people across the world as they now begin to realise the importance of health and early prevention.

There's no denying that most Malaysians has been aware of their health and views health screenings as necessity to avoid any unwanted diseases.

Health screening such as a heart check-ups, blood pressures, cholesterol and sugar levels are among the main issues the public pay attention to most.

However, screenings for male sex organs is still a taboo.

Contrary to women, men find it hard to discuss about their struggles and reflected when when they only discover the disease related male sexual organs at its final stage.

Consultant Urologist Specialist at Gleneagles Medini Johor Hospital, Dr Allen Sim said, based on his experience in the field, two major diseases for men are Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer, which could be fatal if left untreated.

BPH is a non-cancerous swollen prostate condition where the prostate gland is swollen. This often happens to males aged 50-years old and above.

It is a serious condition that can cause urinary problems to the patients thus will interrupt their daily life.

“Usually, 50 per cent of men at the age of 50 years old and above will suffer from BPH.
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“BPH can be detected when the individual notice the changes of their urinary flow, grunting when peeing, the bladder cannot be fully emptied after peeing and the pee flows are disrupted,” he said.

Dr Allen said prostate cancer also has the potential to attack younger males with smoking habits or hereditary diseases.

When an individual has BPH, they will experience uneasiness when peeing due to the blockage.

Meanwhile, Dr Allen said prostate cancer is often asymptomatic. Normally, the patient will start noticing when it is already at the final stage as the prostate cells have been infected by the cancer and now spreading all over the body.

“The patient needs to take the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and Digital Rectal test to detect it,” he said.

According to Dr Allen, discourse on diseases related to sexual organs are sensitive to men as they usually feel embarrassed to talk about it.

He said there are patients who choose to suffer in silence.

"The longer you ignore, the harder it is to cure it. Once you are at the final stage, the possibility of recovery is very low.

“We understand that they are worried about their lifestyle especially when it involves sexual activities as they often get ridiculed for the inability to carry out intercourse and unable to have children, which contributes to their fear to take the test.

“As a matter of fact, the society should not have a mindset as such, they should be aware of their health.

“The issue of not being able to have sex is a myth, they can still do it but to have a child depends on the health and the severity of the prostate cancer,” he said while adding that the prostate cancer patients below 50-years old is a rare occurrence. However, early prevention is best.

Treatment method

Unlike any other critical diseases, BPH or prostate cancer patients are still able to be treated and fully-recover if it is detected at an early stage.

“On a normal occasion, they will have symptoms that can be treated through medications and perhaps a surgery. Gleneagles Medini Johor Hospital suggested a non-surgical treatment called Microwave Thermodilatation.

“The procedures are conducted as outpatient and does not require general anesthesia. What’s important is that the procedures only have minimum risks,” he said.

"For prostate cancer, it is tougher and depends on the severity of the disease whether it can be detected at early stages or the other way around.

"Several years back, the consultant urology specialists needed to depend on the CT scan and MRI for prostate cancer, but the scans do not show which parts
of the body are infected with the cancerous cells.

“However, with the advancement of technology, we now have the accurate multi parametric-magnetic resonance imaging (MP-MRI). Any suspicious differences will be detected by the MRI and biopsy is needed,” he explained.

Dr Allen said, the method is not only more accurate in detecting cancer, but also helps to display the severity of the cancer. Biopsy can be targeted without having the be injected into the glance.

“At an early stage, robotic surgery is used to remove the prostate or for the radiotherapy treatment. Meanwhile at the final stage, the hormone therapy treatment is conducted through injections or taking medications.

“Prostate cancer is not as scary as other cancers, but many men do not seize the opportunity to get themselves checked and get the early treatment ,” he said.

Silent killer

“Although it has a high percentage of recovery, prostate cancer is also capable of being a silent killer due to being detected at its final stages.

"It can get worse depending on the bodily functions of the individual," Dr Allen said.

He said if the cancer is detected early, surgery or radiotherapy can be done and the patient can fully-recover.

However, it is different from getting the treatment after it is detected in the final stages. Although it can be treated, it is hard to fully recover.

“However, it is estimated that the patients can last for two or three years unlike lung cancer which is estimated to be only six months to a year. However, it depends on the treatment method,” he said.

Lastly, prostate cancer can be prevented with the guidance and consultations from the doctors such as reducing the alcohol intake, excessive caffeine intake and practicing a balanced diet.