In a statement released recently, Buckingham Palace informed the public that 75-year-old King Charles will undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate.
The news has led to a significant rise in the number of people looking up information on prostate exams. According to data from “Supplement Doctor”, online searches for “prostate check” and “how to check prostate” have shot up by 242% and 217%, respectively, after the announcement.
Globally, people have also been searching more frequently for “prostate symptoms”, with a 290% increase in such enquiries in the last week. Additionally, queries about the right age to get a prostate check have leapt by 275% over the past year.
Prostate cancer is a major health concern, ranked as the second most common cancer diagnosed in men and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among them, as per a study cited from the National Library of Medicine.
In 2020, there were approximately 1.4 million new cases and over 375 000 deaths attributed to this disease.
The numbers are concerning in Africa and lower-income countries due to factors, including genetics and socio-economic conditions. In South Africa, prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer among men, with the incidence rate having more than doubled from 2007 to 2018.
Acknowledging the widespread nature of the condition, Buckingham Palace’s statement noted: “In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate.”
Following his treatment next week, King Charles will temporarily postpone his royal engagements.
A representative from “Supplement Doctor” praised King Charles for raising awareness and potentially inspiring more men to get checked for prostate issues.
Google Trends data shows that curiosity about what an enlarged prostate signifies has skyrocketed by 528% in the past month.
Difficulty urinating and increased frequency are some symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, which the NHS points out are often related to ageing and hormonal changes.
The spokesperson advised anyone with concerns or unusual urinary symptoms to contact their GP for a prostate exam or further information.
Cancer organisations and local research suggest that black men face a higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer. This risk is amplified if there is a family history of prostate or breast cancer in first-degree relatives.
Experts emphasise the importance of knowing one’s family cancer history to monitor this risk.
The prostate, a small gland below the bladder, is a vital part of the male reproductive system. While prostate cancer often progresses slowly and may not be harmful, certain types can be aggressive and spread rapidly without treatment.
In the early stages, prostate cancer may not display any symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, men may experience frequent urination (especially at night), difficulty starting or stopping urination, a weak or interrupted urinary stream, and painful or burning sensations during urination or ejaculation. Advanced prostate cancer can lead to deep pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Several factors contribute to the risk of developing prostate cancer, including age, ethnicity, family history, obesity, and certain dietary habits.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting consumption of red meat and high-fat dairy products, can help lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Common symptoms of an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), typically include:
1. A frequent need to urinate, during the day and at night.
2. Difficulty starting urination.
3. Weak or interrupted urine stream.
4. A feeling that the bladder isn’t completely empty after urinating.
5. Dribbling at the end of urination.
6. An urgent need to urinate.
7. Inability to empty the bladder.
8. Urinary leakage or incontinence.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and might also be caused by other conditions.
If anyone experiences these symptoms, they should consult a health-care professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.