Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer affecting Singapore men (according to statistics from National Cancer Centre Singapore).

Symptoms of prostate cancer

The most common symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  1. Elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA)
  2. Lower urinary tract symptoms e.g. frequency and hesitancy

“However, the same symptoms may also occur in men with benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of your doctor whether additional testing is required when such symptoms arise,” explained Dr Jeffrey Tuan, Senior Consultant from the Division of Radiation Oncology at National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), a member of the SingHealth group.

Tips to maintain good prostate health

As a start:

  • Include more green, leafy vegetables in your daily diet. This is a good first step towards a healthy prostate as leafy vegetables contain important vitamins and antioxidants
  • Avoid charred meats which is associated with a type of chemical (PhIP), which increase the risk of cancer
  • Get moderate exposure to sunlight. This ensures adequate Vitamin D, which lowers the risk of cancer
  • Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that exercise is beneficial for prostate health
  • Consider prostate cancer screening, if you are above the age of 55. Consult your doctor regarding the pros and cons of going for screening. Prostate health can easily be determined with a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a simple blood test (prostate specific antigen)

Treating prostate cancer with SBRT (stereotactic body radiotherapy)

If you are diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer, you may be eligible for stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) treatment.

Compared to traditional radiotherapy that requires daily treatments of between 37 to 39 sessions, which can last up to two months, SBRT delivers radiation over a much shorter period (2-3 times shorter) and can be completed within five sessions. This enables patients to return back to work and normal activities more quickly (in nearly half the time).

“This is due to improvement in technology that allows for better imaging of the prostate, faster and more precise radiation delivery,” said Dr Li Youquan, Associate Consultant, also from the Division of Radiation Oncology at NCCS.

Recent studies also confirmed that SBRT is as effective as traditional techniques with a promise of reduced side effects such as rectal bleeding and sexual dysfunction1.

Since 2014, over 100 patients from NCCS have been treated with SBRT with good clinical outcomes and a favorable toxicity profile. The treatment is currently being tested in two large randomised control trials in the United States and United Kingdom and could replace traditional treatments as the new standard2,3.

References:

  1. Cushman TR et al, Oncotarget. 2019 Sep 24; 10 (54) 5660-5668
  2. PACE-B trial (NCT01584258)
  3. NRG GU005 (NCT03367702)

Ref: M19

Check out our other articles on prostate cancer:

Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know

Managing Prostate Cancer Treatment

Prostate Cancer: Overview On Treatment Options

Prostate Cancer - Doctor Q&A