PEI men encouraged to talk about prostate health and cancer

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Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Henderson met with (L-R) Dr. Carol McClure, Ron Profit, Marla Delaney, and Normam Fortheringham to discuss recommendations to address prostate cancer.

During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Island men are encouraged to speak with their family physician or nurse practitioner about their prostate health and risk of developing cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men; one in eight men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime and an estimated 24,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. The survival rate for prostate cancer can be over 90 percent when detected early.

“Prostate cancer has a tremendous impact on Islanders. With one in eight men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, it is important for all us to learn about the causes and signs of this disease,” said Minister Henderson. “We are strategically working in our health care system to increase prevention and detection of prostate cancer, as well as shed further light on what is most important to Island men living with this difficult disease.”

On Prince Edward Island, prostate cancer is recognized as one of the four leading types of cancer and is the most frequently diagnosed type in men.  In 2015, 94 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer of which 87.2 per cent were between 50 and 79 years of age. 

Health PEI, in partnership with health care providers, community stakeholders and patient advisors, is working on several recommendations made to address prostate cancer within the province. These recommendations are contained within the three-year PEI Cancer Strategy released earlier this year and include:

• Establishing a prostate cancer action group;

• Providing more information to guide men and health care providers in managing the risks and detection of prostate cancer;

• Establishing the best process to rapidly and accurately diagnose prostate cancer;

• Supporting health care providers in using national guidelines to diagnose cancer, including national recommendations on the use of screening and early detection tests;

• Establishing a standardized care plan for prostate cancer; and

• Expanding screening for distress to support prostate cancer patients with managing anxiety, fatigue, and emotional stress to name a few.

“Prostate cancer is a complex disease of which some forms can be aggressive and others non-life-threatening, which is why it is so important for men to learn about this cancer through conversations with their primary care provider,” says Marla Delaney, provincial cancer coordinator. “Providing Islanders and health care providers with as much information about the latest practices in prevention, screening and treatment options will help raise awareness, increase early detection when it’s largely treatable and, hopefully, minimize the impact of this disease while improving quality of life.”

Men can have different symptoms for prostate cancer, and some may have none at all. Some symptoms may include:

• difficulty starting urination;

• weak or interrupted flow of urine;

• frequent urination, especially at night;

• difficulty emptying the bladder completely;

• pain or burning during urination;

• blood in the urine or semen; and/or

• pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.

While some risk factors for prostate cancer such as age and family history cannot be modified, others can. Men can make adjustments to their diet and lifestyle to reduce or delay their risk and help with a better quality of life following diagnosis, including eating healthier, exercising regularly, not smoking, and reducing stress.

“A prostate cancer diagnosis can be difficult for men and their families, and we are very encouraged by the work being undertaken to address this disease within our province and support Islanders,” says PEI Cancer Support Group president Ron Profit. “It’s important for men to learn and talk about prostate cancer and their own prostate health. Our support group is another avenue for men and their families impacted by prostate cancer to have those discussions with others who understand what they are going through.”

For more information about cancer care on Prince Edward Island, including prevention, screening, treatment and a copy of the PEI Cancer Strategy, visit Healthcare PEI.
For more information, contact the PEI Prostate Cancer Support Group.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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