No Shave November-Prostate Cancer.

Hello good people.
What is prostate cancer?
 What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?
 Is prostate cancer curable?
What are the causes and who can get prostrate cancer?

After such and eye-opening post on breast cancer, Jowie the Doc is back.
Today, she will be enlightening us on prostate cancer.

It’s that time of the year where men grow their beards. ‘NO SHAVE NOVEMBER’ is the name I’ve heard going around. Please tend to your beard even if you aren’t cutting it, some are not very appealing. Anyway, this is a campaign in regards to cancer awareness. The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle. You’ll do this gentle reader, won’t you?

For the purpose of this post, let’s talk about prostate cancer which is a bit more common. Well, not just cancer but also benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).
You’ll be surprised that many men aren’t really sure what the prostate is. Some think it’s ‘the balls’. Those are testicles. Others, well, I’m not really sure what they think it is. The prostate is a small walnut-shaped organ found in males only. It surrounds the urethra (urine tract) somewhere just below the bladder. This gland produces part of the fluid making up the semen. It also contributes to the ejaculation process by contracting to forcefully push the semen out of the penis. Now we all get what we’re talking about, yeah?
In every man, the prostate is continuously growing as you age. Hence it tends to get troublesome in the older men. This growth is facilitated by testosterone and starts at around 40 years. By the time you hit 60, half of the men will get symptoms of an enlarged prostate. We call this, benign prostate enlargement. Benign to mean it is not cancerous.
The enlargement however can be troublesome. Like we said, the prostate surrounds the urinary tract and it’s close to the bladder. Hence when it becomes big, it interferes with these structures. You go to pee and notice changes. Like most men, you’ll ignore them since you’re too shy/feel ashamed to speak about it. The symptoms however don’t go away and eventually you come to my office.
‘Daktari, there’s a problem somewhere’, you say and list a myriad of symptoms:
‘I’m peeing too frequently’ - frequency
‘When I go to pee it takes some time for it to start flowing’ – hesitancy
‘My stream is very weak, the trajectory is decreased’ – weak stream
‘After I’m done peeing I feel there’s some more left’ – incomplete voiding
‘I can’t hold back the need to pee’ – urgency
‘Daktari it’s chaos, my urine just flows’ – incontinence
These are among the tell-tale signs of BPH. If you get any of these (or your relative does), please go to hospital. A number of blood and urine tests will be done to find out what’s going on .We’ll also do the dreaded DRE. Digital rectal exam. Yes, the doctor’s finger will go up the last place you’d want it to go. Yes, it’s where you think I’m talking about. The back hole. If it’s any consolation, a lubricant is used. A digital exam helps us asses if the prostate is truly enlarged. It can also give us an idea if it’s the benign type or the cancerous one (though we confirm cancer with biopsy).
BPH cannot be prevented, it’s inevitable with old age. The good news is that it can be treated. With the right medication, we can relieve the symptoms as well as stop the enlargement.
Supposing we’re worried it’s cancer, this is when we need a biopsy. A biopsy is when you take a small tissue of the prostate and examine it to determine if it has cancerous cells.
I have good news and bad news. Every cloud has a silver lining yeah?
The bad news first; you have prostate cancer. What could the good news be? Well, prostate cancer has been found to be a rather slow growing cancer. Hence with medication one can survive for a relatively long time.
This cancer is common among older men above 45 years .The signs might be the same with those of benign enlargement. Hence biopsy is the only thing that can tell us for sure. Like all cancers, if caught in early stages, survival is better. Also, if left untreated it can spread to other parts of the body.
There are many treatment options. The prostate can be removed, Radiation and chemotherapy can also be used. Castration can be done medically or surgically. This helps curb the growth since like earlier said, prostate growth is dependent on testosterone.
Every treatment option has its side effects .Choice of the best method to apply is best discussed with your healthcare provider. Remember, some people have a family history of this cancer hence their chances of getting it are higher.
As you mark this no shave November, I hope you now have more insight on what this is all about. Make sure to go for screening if you’re above 50 years. Better safe than sorry.

-Jowie the Doc-  

Our gratitude goes out to you, Jowie the Doc for sharing your medical skills and knowledge with us, for a healthy nation.



  1. Very informative post Jowie the Doc...amazing post Cera

    1. @Teiya thank you. We should all work towards a healthy life.