The lower back and pelvis area can be seen on a spinal column replica, where potential back problems could arise. Picture: Karen Sandison

Cancers of the pelvic area are widespread and do not discriminate - affecting both men and women, young and old alike.

Early diagnosis of pelvic cancer is vital for successful treatment and both men and women should have regular check-ups to help detect the disease at its onset, The Urology Hospital, Pretoria has advised.

 Pelvic cancer refers to various cancers in the pelvic area, including cancer of the bladder, anus, rectum and cancer of the skin and soft tissue – all of which may affect both men and women. For women, pelvic cancer includes cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancer while for men, pelvic cancers include prostate and testicular cancer.

Urologist Dr Frans van Wijk says pelvic cancer can be fatal if left undetected and untreated. “Early diagnosis is vital,” he stressed, adding that women should consult a gynecologist regularly and a urologist where necessary to undergo ultra sound scans for accurate diagnosis.

 “I would urge women to go for regular check-ups of the pelvic region. In addition to pap smears, women should consult their specialists for scans or screening, particularly if they experience lower abdominal pain, bladder symptoms or a change in bowel function,” said van Wijk, adding that The Urology Hospital had a pelvic floor unit dedicated to treating pelvic conditions.

 He said men over 40 with a family history of prostate cancer should have annual prostate examinations and all men should self-examine their testicles for lumps or swelling. 

“Consult your urologist immediately should there be any abnormalities or for regular prostate examinations,” added van Wijk.

He said pelvic cancer treatments varied depending on a host of factors including the type of pelvic cancer and its stage of advancement. Treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

For pelvic floor consultations, contact The Urology Hospital, Pretoria on 012 423 4000 or [email protected]

(Adapted from press release)