10/10/2017 10:50 SAST | Updated 10/10/2017 10:51 SAST

Guys, You Need To Get Screened For Prostate Cancer

It is the leading cancer among men in SA.

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Cancerous cells in a male body attacking the reproductive system as a symbol of human malignant tumour growth diagnosis treatment and risks.

Celebrated South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela recently announced that he was battling prostate cancer -- resulting in the cancellation of all his immediate commitments.

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Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer and singer. (Photo by Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

In a statement, the 78-year-old revealed that he has been in treatment since 2008, after doctors discovered a small "speck" on his bladder.

Bra Hugh, as he is affectionately known, urged all men to have regular tests to check their own condition. "Ask questions, demand answers and learn everything you can about this cancer, and tell others to do the same," he said.

This is because prostate cancer is the leading cancer in South African men. According to the National Cancer Registry, the lifetime risk for the disease in South African men is one in 19 -- with more than 4,000 men diagnosed yearly.

Ask questions, demand answers and learn everything you can about this cancer, and tell others to do the same

What causes prostate cancer?

According to The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the cancer begins when normal cells in the prostate change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumour. Some tumours are noncancerous.

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PC-3 human prostate cancer cells.

Some prostate cells grow very slowly and may not cause symptoms or problems for years.

Getting tested

Prostate cancer affects men of all ages, but mainly those older than 40, with the risk increasing even more after the age of 50.

CANSA recommends that men go for regular screening tests to detect prostate cancer. Early detection enables immediate treatment and a better chance of recovery.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • A weak flow of urine or a pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Painful ejaculations
  • Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs

The risk of cancer, in general, can be reduced through:

  • Eating healthier
  • Exercising regularly
  • Not smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Drinking enough clean, safe water