Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer globally and in South Africa. International and local research indicates that the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher amongst black men. This is according to CANSA.

In South Africa prostate cancer is the number one cancer affecting men. Others in the top five are colorectal, lung, kaposi sarcoma and bladder cancer.

What Prostate Cancer is

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the semen fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Usually prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that’s detected early — when it’s still confined to the prostate gland has a better chance of successful treatment.

Causes of this cancer are not clear.



Prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages. When the cancer is advanced it may cause the following symptoms:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in semen
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

Risk factors

Factors that can increase the risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age – Risk of prostate cancer increases with age.
  • Race – For reasons not yet known, black men carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than men of other races. Furthermore, the cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
  • Family history – The risks are higher if a family member has had the cancer.
  • Obesity – Obese men found to have prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that is more difficult to treat.

Reducing the risk of Prostate Cancer

Regular screening is recommended to ensure early detection and treatment.

SAMWUMED members and dependents are covered for prostate cancer as part of the Scheme’s Wellness Programme. To read more click here:


Sources: Mayo Clinic & CANSA