Frequent testing for prostate cancer remains critical

Frequent testing for prostate cancer remains critical
Frequent testing for prostate cancer remains critical

JOHANNESBURG, March 11th, 2024 – Men’s healthcare should be under the spotlight more often, said Vanessa Snow, Head of Medical Affairs at Janssen South Africa. Differences between the sexes mean that men are more likely to suffer from a variety of conditions. Challenges that men are most likely to encounter, include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers of the prostate, testicles, and colon. Then, there’s also alopecia, hypertension, high cholesterol, incontinence, urinary tract infections, and issues with sexual performance. (1)

“Men are less likely than women to visit the doctor, and this means that preventable conditions are often caught too late for effective intervention,” (2) said Snow. And conditions like prostate cancer often provide a one hundred percent recovery rate measured at a five-year survival milestone and remains well into the upper ninety-percent curve for decades after. (3) “But it must be detected as early as possible,” she added.

Statistically, South Africa has seen incidences of prostate cancer rise by almost fifty percent between 2007 and 2018. (4) “It remains the most common cancer amongst men and 2018 figures suggested an increase of more than fifty percent in a decade, from 2007, to 68 men per population segment of one hundred thousand,” said Snow. Prostate cancer also accounts for thirteen percent of all cancer-related deaths amongst men. Ageing remains a factor, and as men approach seventy years of age, almost seventy percent of men will encounter prostate cancer in some form or another, noted Snow. (5)

Initially, men may not experience symptoms of prostate cancer. It grows very slowly and can be benign or, very aggressive. As the disease progresses, symptoms can include frequent nighttime urination, difficulty initiating or stopping urination, weak or interrupted flow, pain during urination or ejaculation, and blood in urine or semen. Advanced stages may cause deep pain in the lower back, hips, or thighs. Risk factors include age, ethnicity, family history, obesity, and certain dietary habits. A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, weight management, and reduced intake of red meat and high-fat dairy can lower risk. (6)

Prostate cancer can often be treated successfully, especially if it is detected early. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be used. (7) “It is important for men to have regular engagement with their doctors about their risk of developing prostate cancer, and to discuss the benefits and risks of screening,” said Snow.

This is why, she noted, that while annual days of observation focus on healthcare challenges, men must be encouraged to visit healthcare professionals more often throughout the year. “We must bridge the gap in healthcare disparities and encourage men to take an active role in their health,” she said. “A culture that supports regular health check-ups and open conversations about health concerns can significantly improve outcomes for men across the spectrum of diseases, particularly in conditions like prostate cancer where early detection is paramount,” she noted.




  1. Cleveland Clinic. Most Common Health Issues for Men. Paragraph 1


2. Drugwatch. Men’s Health – Life Stages, Common Conditions, Drugs & Devices. 2nd section, under the headline: ‘Facts about Men’s Health’


3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Prostate Cancer Prognosis.,cancer%20to%20still%20be%20livingParagraph 8


4. National Library of Medicine. The profile of Black South African men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the Free State, South Africa.,100%20000%20men%20in%202018.&text=Prostate%20cancer%20accounts%20for%20about,from%20cancer%20in%20South%20Africa


5. Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa.


6. CANSA. Prostate Cancer.


7. American Cancer Society. Treating Prostate Cancer.