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Skip Navigation Linksprostate-cancer-prevention-and-detection Prostate Cancer Prevention and Detection

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men after skin cancer. In some men it grows slowly with no serious concern, but in others it becomes an aggressive disease. However, early detection and improvements in therapy have resulted in a dramatic decrease in deaths by 40 to 50 percent since the early 1990’s according to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and a 56 percent chance to beat prostate cancer if it is detected early according to CANSA and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa.

What Exactly is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum and secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Almost all prostate cancers develop from the glandular cells.

The three most common prostate conditions are:

  • Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate, sometimes caused by infection and is typically treated with antibiotics.
  • Enlarged prostate: This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and affects almost all men over 50. Symptoms of difficult urination increase with age and medicines or surgery can treat BPH.
  • Prostate cancer: This is the most common form of cancer in men, but only one in 41 men die from prostate cancer according to Matthew Hoffman, MD (Atlanta). Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

Metastatic prostate cancer is when prostate cancer cells spread by invading nearby organs and tissues, such as the bladder or rectum, or by travelling through the blood or lymph to other parts of the body. The bones, especially in the spine, is the most common site of prostate cancer spread, apart from the lymph nodes near the prostate. In some cases, prostate cancer has already metastasized by the time the disease has been diagnosed.


Screening (testing to find the disease in men) is one of the best ways to detect prostate cancer early, enabling more effective treatment and a better chance of recovery.

  • Routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, annually, from age 40 for all men at high risk of prostate cancer. This includes those men with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age (younger than 65 years).
  • Routine PSA testing, annually, as from age 45 for all males who are at risk of prostate cancer. This includes men who have a history of prostate cancer on either the mother or father’s side, or with a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than 65 years).
  • Routine PSA testing, at least once every 2 years, for all males from age 50.

It is important to talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of these screenings.

There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, but there are ways to lower your risk. Speak to a counsellor at your local CANSA Care Centre.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa
Human Anatomy
Disease Information

Although this document has been prepared with due care and in good faith, the interpretations and opinions are those of the authors and are subject to change without notice. As such, the contents do not constitute definitive advice and should not be accepted as such. Neither Simeka Heatlh (Pty) Ltd nor the authors accept liability for any damage whatsoever or however it may arise, including but not limited to, direct, indirect or consequential loss that may arise as a result of sole reliance on the information herein. Competent professional advice should be sought when dealing with any contentious issue. Simeka Health (Pty) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanlam.



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