Nov 2, 2010

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

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The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

Movember..A great Cause!

November is here and things are about to get a little hairy, but for a great cause! Some of us at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy and Dauphin Medical Clinic are going to grow, or attempt to grow mustaches to help create awareness for Prostate Cancer. It is all part of a project called Movember.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian Men. If you are a man, you have a 1 in 6 chance of developing prostate cancer. Approximately 25 000 men in Canada will be diagnosed with it this year, many of these men being as young as 40 years old. However; most people do not know much about this type of cancer.

The prostate is a gland found in the lower abdomen of men, which has the main role of producing semen, required for reproduction. The prostate also functions in the control of urine. The urethra, a tube which carries urine from the bladder, passes through the prostate gland. The prostate gland contains muscle fibers which contract and slow the flow of urine.

The prostate also makes prostate specific antigen (PSA). In healthy prostates, a small amount of PSA leaks out into the blood. However, prostate cancer cells leak more PSA, so early-stage prostate cancer can often be caught by a blood test that measures PSA levels.

Cells in the body divide, mature and die in a regulated and orderly way. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate start to grow uncontrollably. In general, men with prostate cancer have several small tumors in the prostate. There is no one single cause of prostate cancer but research has led to believe age, ethnicity and family history are all contributing factors. The only determined factors we are able control are diet and body weight. Lifestyle changes such as a healthy well balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent prostate cancer. If you are over the age of 50 or have a family history of prostate cancer you should talk to your family physician about being tested.

The only good news about prostate cancer is it is a very curable type if caught in the early stages. Prostate tumors usually grow very slowly and it may take years for the tumor to become detectible. At these early stages the cancer cells are only found in the prostate and there are cure rates of 90% or better with radiation and chemotherapy. The problem with prostate cancer is during the early stages there are very few presenting symptoms. Quite often men who have prostate cancer in the early stages have absolutely no symptoms at all. This is why PSA testing is very important.

Prostate cancer cells, left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body and produce secondary tumours. This significantly lowers the chances treatment success. Prostate cancer can spread to any part of the body, most commonly the bones and lymph nodes. A small number of men have aggressive prostate cancers that grow and spread quickly. At diagnosis, it is tough to know which category a man falls into and this can make treatment decisions hard.

Starting November 1st clean shaven men grow a mustache for the entire month in support of Movember. Last year Movember Canada was the second largest campaign in the world with over 35000 participants and $7.8 million dollars raised for Prostate Cancer Canada. More importantly Movember creates awareness.

Locally, Movember fever is taking off thanks to Ryan Gardner and Steve Sobering. They have created the network MoParkland and have been campaigning for parkland residents to get involved. For more information you can go to and search MoParkland. You can search our team which is called DCP & THE DOCS Donations can be made online or you can drop off some spare change at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy and check out our Movember mustaches.


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