If you were asked to point out where the prostate gland is, could you do it? Most men have no idea
Ask a child where their heart or other major organ in their body is and there’s a good chance they’ll know the answer.
Ask a man where his prostate gland is and it’s more than likely he won’t be able to tell you.
A recent study has revealed two thirds of men don’t know where their prostate is and only half know what it does.
For those of you who are oblivious, it’s just below the bladder and is essential for reproduction.
Despite being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males, prostate cancer is still a mystery to most men, according to the UK’s Prostate Cancer Research Centre.
Doctor Houriya Kazim founded a UAE cancer charity and support group and has worked with many people suffering from the disease.
She says typically men are less concerned about their health.
“Obviously there are different extremes but in general men are not that health conscious, not just in terms of cancer or looking for signs but everything - lifestyle, eating habits, drinking, smoking. “For example, when I first met my husband 20 years ago, out of interest I asked him if he had any idea where his liver or spleen is. He had no idea, he didn’t even know where to point to,” she says.
“I think prostate cancer is something where the symptoms tend to be in older men so most men just figure it won’t happen to them.”
Doctor Kazim also believes that as prostate cancer is not as widely talked about as other cancers, such as breast cancer, it’s not surprising men don’t know a great deal about it.
She adds: “Women know where their breasts are because obviously they’re right there.
But men wouldn’t usually pay attention to any information about their prostate unless they’ve had to deal with it or know someone who’s had to deal with it.
“I do get to see men coming to see me with breast lumps, but only because their wives have dragged them there and you can see they don’t really want to be there.
“Their attitude is usually ‘yeah, it’s fine, it will go away.’”
More than 10,000 men die in the UK every year as a result of the tumour. However, the research by the Prostate Cancer Research Centre revealed that only four per cent of those over 50 have ever had a PSA blood test - an important test that searches for Prostate Specific Antigens.
It is often up to the women to get their men to see a doctor - a staggering 90 per cent of men in the study agreed that they are more likely to visit a healthcare profess-ional if a woman urged them to go.
It also found that men are often too embarrassed to discuss such intimate health issues with their friends - instead preferring to ignore the problem completely.
Over here in Dubai, rather than being embarrassed, it seems, like Doctor Kazim suggests, men are just ignorant to the risks.
Adnan Parvaiz, 32, a recruitment manager from the UK, thought the prostate gland was in the upper half of his body.
“You’ve got glands in your throat, the prostate’s there isn’t it?” he asks. “If something hurts or I notice a change in my body that doesn’t go back to normal after a couple of weeks then I’d go to the doctor. I don’t do any checks on myself, if something is bad enough then I would notice the symptoms.”
A quick lesson
* The prostate is a small gland found only in men. It is the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder. It surrounds the first part of the tube (urethra) which carries urine from the bladder to the penis
* It’s responsible for producing semen which mixes with the sperm produced by the testicles. It also produces a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that turns the semen into liquid
* The risk of getting prostate cancer increases as you get older, and most men who are diagnosed with it are over 50. Experts suggest men over 40 should have annual checks, but any young men who notice symptoms (see below) should get them checked out regardless of age
* A lot of men confuse prostate cancer with testicular cancer and incorrectly think an important sign of the disease is a lump in their testes
* An enlarged prostate can press on the tube carrying urine from the bladder, which causes problems with urinating
* Other symptoms may include needing to urinate often, especially at night; difficulty in starting to urinate or taking a long time to finish; feeling pain while urinating or having sex. Less common symptoms include pain in the lower back and/or blood in the urine
For more information visit www.prostate-cancer.org.uk