The verdict is still out on what causes prostate cancer, and it isn’t known why, on a global scale, black men are more susceptible than whites. The heartening news is that, when detected early, five-year survival rates are 98%. "Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in South African men and one in seven men develop it," says Wits Academic Head of Urology, Prof Mohamed Haffejee. People diagnosed can choose to do nothing about it — it’s a probability game called watchful waiting. "Nearly 50% of cases are low risk and slow growing," says Haffejee. "Men can die with prostate cancer, but not from prostate cancer." There is a however — if it isn’t removed, it can spread through lymph nodes and metastasise in the bones, causing painful fractures. Although radiation therapy is advised for the elderly and infirm, top urologists recommend robotic prostate surgery to remove the prostate gland if the cancer is organ confined and hasn’t spread. "It is the most effective way to remove a cance...

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