RM50 could save your life

Murali-Sundram

KUALA LUMPUR: Some Malaysians may feel that RM50 does not go far nowadays, but it can help potential prostate cancer victims get a seven-year advantage over the disease.

Hospital Kuala Lumpur consultant urologist Murali Sundram says that for that amount, men could get a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test at almost any clinic or lab that will give them a seven-year advantage over the disease, rather than waiting for symptoms to show.

“Globally, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after lung cancer.

“In Malaysia, it is the fourth most common cancer in men.”

The head of HKL’s Urology Department explained that prostate cancer mostly affected those aged 50 and above, and is a slow-growing disease.

While prostate cancer is not as aggressive as other cancers, Murali said that it was nevertheless crucial to detect it early and treat it, as it could spread, like any other cancers.

He lamented that awareness on the disease was still “hopelessly low” among Malaysians, even though it was on the rise.

“The most common symptom of prostate cancer is related to urinating, from difficulty in passing urine to irregular urination and leakages.

“However, many men would often brush this off as something that comes with old age, when in truth it is your body telling you that something is not right.”

Murali said this was why the PSA blood test was so important as it would indicate that someone was at high risk of having developing prostate cancer, at times even seven years before actual symptoms show.

He said if the results of the PSA blood test indicated that a person was at risk, they could then see a urologist and get a biopsy done to confirm if they had prostate cancer.

The urologist would then recommend treatment, which can either be in the form of the surgical removal of the prostate and lymph nodes near the prostate or radiotherapy.

“With early treatment, prostate cancer patients can live for more than 10 to 20 years after being diagnosed.”

Murali said what was important was for Malaysians to develop a health-seeking mentality, by proactively going for regular medical check-ups.