Govt Doctors allege ‘Gender Bias’ against Prostate Cancer

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Prostate Cancer is the bane of longevity for men

New Delhi: It is a queer case of gender bias. The government doctors have alleged that prostate cancer is getting step motherly treatment by the central government because it involves only men.

In a press conference on September 21, Prof (Dr) Anup Kumar, HOD, Urology and Renal Transplant, Safdarjung Hospital and Prof (Dr) P N Dogra, Head of Urology, AIIMS said that there is an urgent need of running a national campaign to catch prostate cancer in early stage because it is assuming epidemic proportions, rural population being more afflicted with life threatening last stage prostate cancer.

But in the same breath, they levelled a veiled charge that the central government is reluctant to create a national program to control prostate cancer as this concerns only men. September is being observed as Prostate Cancer Awareness month globally. Non Government organizations are observing it in India too.

They warned that most metastatic prostate cancer cases were coming from rural areas, so advanced treatment is needed to be made available to them too. According to cancer registries of metro cities, Delhi has emerged as having highest number of cumulative prostate cancer patients. Metastatic prostate cancer is one that spreads to other vital parts of the body. The liver, lungs, lymph nodes, and bones are common areas where to the prostate cancer spreads.

They said that though most of the world prostate organizations favour population based PSA( Prostate Specific Antigen) screening for prostate cancer but it is not feasible in India, given its vastness and cost involved. They advocated smart, targeted and opportunistic screening. When PSA is high, the patient is a candidate for further tests for confirmation of the cancer. They said India needs to take up the challenge to overcome the rising burden of PCA both in urban as well as rural areas.

According to them, the data shows that almost all regions of India are equally affected by this cancer. The rates of prostate cancer incidence are constantly and rapidly increasing across population based Registries. The cancer projection data shows the number of cases will double by 2020. The Delhi Cancer Registry shows prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in Delhi accounting for about 6.78 percent of all malignancies.

Hard facts that emerge from recent updates are: The disease is growing by 1% every year; one new case occurs every 2.5 minutes; one man dies from Prostate Cancer every 17 minutes and chances of having prostate cancer increases rapidly after the age of 50 years.

As life increasingly prolongs, men are inching towards higher probability of having prostate cancer. As evidenced by Delhi NCR cancer registry, it has become the second most common cancer in men, next only to lung cancer.

Age being its major risk factor, Prostate cancer is still mainly a malignancy of elderly males but of late, a disruptive trend has been noticed that even men of younger age are being diagnosed as having prostate carcinoma. And also, prostate cancer in younger men, say at 40, is more aggressive and therefore more life threatening than in older men.

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