There are many health ailments that we have become startlingly familiar with. From simple bouts of the flu and headaches, to highly publicised forms of cancer like lung cancer and breast cancer, we have become familiar with some forms of illness and disease simply because they are common enough that we have been forced to – these illnesses do not discriminate, and it is rare to find a room of twenty people where not even one has been affected – either themselves or through someone in their circle – by such ailments, which is why choosing the right insurance policy with iSelect is important.

Some people will argue that health issues like prostate cancer are unconventional, but the reality is that they are anything but. Prostate cancer is more common than you perhaps may think, but it is not common enough that it is not uncomfortable to talk about for many people. Unconventional illnesses and health issues relate more to issues like having to be prescribed bed rest after a particularly rough week, or going to the hospital because you sawed a thumb off. Issues like prostate cancer are uncomfortable, not unconventional. And it is high time we got used to talking about them.

Like any serious illness, prostate cancer should never be taken lightly, but the reality here is that a lot of men who have been diagnosed report being not only optimistic, but even (perhaps shockingly) grateful for their diagnosis. You see, while prostate cancer is undoubtedly quite serious in some cases, in others it is ultimately more about learning to live with a condition rather than accepting almost-certain death (as it can be with so many other forms of cancer). This means that quality of life is still very much possible, and in many cases remains firmly intact. The average age of diagnosis is anywhere between the 50s and 60s, making it very much in alignment with “aging” diseases.

What this means, essentially, is that patients who suffer from a non-aggressive prostate cancer diagnosis are easily able to be attended to without constant appointments, treatment schedules, and check-ups (in fact, some low-risk prostate cancer patients do not need any treatment at all). Because the prostate is located so deep in the body, removing it requires an extensive operation – all up, there are six entry points, and the operation takes, on average, around four hours.

There are absolutely some cases of prostate cancer where fatality occurs, but there is also a significantly high percentage (40%, to be exact…so, just under half) of newly diagnosed patients who are considered low-risk. The early symptoms can be difficult to diagnose, because they are often symptoms that can also relate to aging in men. These symptoms include frequent and painful urination, for example. For this reason, a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test is the best place to start when figuring out diagnoses. The PSA is following by up by less-invasive tests, such as genetic testing or even an MRI.

Ultimately, if the PSA level is low in the patient, then they only need to have it done every five years until around the age of 60 (assuming the PSA levels remain low). 50 years old is the standard age for the first prostate test, but it is now being reported that individuals with concerns should be asking to have the test done as early as their mid-40s. It might sound daunting, but ultimately all it comes down to is awareness – the quality of life for many patients with the disease is, generally, quite positive.

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