Articles - Why it's important to donate for men with prostate cancer
30th May 2024

Why it's important to donate for men with prostate cancer

Globally, prostate cancer can be said to be the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men. According to the Bulgarian Oncological Scientific Society, it is the second most common, being found mainly in men over 50 years of age. 6 out of 10 cases are diagnosed in men over 65 years of age. This type of cancer affects the prostate gland of the male reproductive system and develops at a very slow rate in most men. Some men can live for years without any indication of the problem. Fortunately, most prostate cancers tend to grow slowly and are low-grade, with relatively low risk and limited aggressiveness. Others, however, are aggressive and can spread quickly. The risk also comes from the fact that in some there are no initial or early symptoms or signs that something is happening in the body.

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What are the most common symptoms

Prostate cancer that is detected early - when it is still confined to the prostate gland - has the best chance of successful treatment. When it's at a more advanced stage, it can cause signs and symptoms such as trouble urinating, reduced urine stream strength, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, weight loss for no reason or erectile dysfunction. It usually develops in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. However, not all growths in the prostate are cancer, and other conditions that cause symptoms similar to it can be benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatitis, which causes inflammation and swelling. As with cancer in general, prostate cancer forms when cells divide faster than usual. While normal cells eventually die, cancerous ones do not. Instead, they multiply and grow into a lump called a tumor. As the cells continue to multiply, parts of it can break off and spread to other parts of the body i.e. metastasize. But most tumours are diagnosed before the cancer has spread outside the prostate and it may then be curable. Age is most often considered a risk factor, and you are more likely to be diagnosed if you are over 50. Family history, sexually transmitted infections and genetics can also be identified as risk factors.

Regular screening can help detect prostate cancer early, especially if you are in a high-risk group. A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose it or know for sure how aggressive it is. But to get to it, other tests such as a prostate-specific antigen(PSA) blood test are done beforehand. It's the first step, and elevated values don't always mean you have prostate cancer, but it does give that red light to suggest there's still a problem. Diagnostic imaging can show images of the prostate gland, being looked at carefully to identify suspicious areas within it. However, it is also only a step before the doctor decides if a biopsy is needed.

What are the main treatments for prostate cancer

Treatment depends on a number of factors, including the general condition, whether the cancer is spreading and how quickly it is happening. In some cases, it is only monitored by having regular check-ups and keeping a close eye on symptoms. The most common method is surgery, or what is called prostatectomy, in which the prostate is removed. Radiotherapy, on the other hand, is used when the cancer has only affected the prostate gland. It is done externally in the genital area and the duration is individual to each patient. It can provide symptom relief. Another method of treatment is hormone therapy when the tumor has also covered the surrounding tissues. It uses substances that reduce testosterone production, because it is the growth of cancer that is often associated with male hormones. The drugs prevent testosterone from reaching the cancer cells. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove the testicles, again to stop the production of this hormone.

In chemotherapy, again drugs are used to destroy the cancer cells, and it may be alone or in combination with hormone therapy. Immunotherapy may also be used in prostate cancer to strengthen the immune system so that it is better able to identify and fight cancer cells. Focal therapy is a newer form of treatment that destroys tumours in the prostate, treating only the damaged part of the organ. The most commonly used form of focal therapy is cryotherapy, in which cancer cells are frozen, which helps to remove them more quickly.

Various side effects may occur as a result of the treatment, some of which may disappear over time. These include involuntary urine discharge even when the bladder is not full. This problem usually improves during the first six to 12 months without treatment. Surgery, radiation, and other therapies can damage erectile nerves, but usually erectile function is restored within a year or two (sometimes sooner). Treatment can affect your ability to produce or ejaculate semen, leading to infertility. So if you want to have children in the future, you can use a sperm bank before you start treatment. But as mentioned above, it is very important to get screened preventively because the earlier prostate cancer is detected, the better the chances of curing it, and the less painful it will be.

How to ask for financial help to cover the costs

Typically, every patient diagnosed with cancer needs financial help. In the case of prostate cancer, you can help a friend or loved one by starting a campaign to raise additional funds. Besides sharing on social media, sharing with friends, colleagues and even employers to make it more successful, you can follow these tips:

  • Be completely honest

The more personal and honest the story of the person affected by the disease, the more people will take up your cause. Tell why you want to help, what exactly your friend needs and the reason why he or she urgently needs those extra funds.

  • Detailed list

Identify and request a specific amount, and you can make a list of exactly what it will be used for. This also builds trust in the people who would like to help, and this way they will know that their financial support, however minimal, makes sense.

  • Extra time

If someone has further questions or wants an appointment to make sure their financial support goes to the right people, it is good to be responsive and give the right information about the situation to the person you are supporting. It is in these meetings that someone may come along who can give you financial advice to get additional monetary support or a larger donor who can help with underwriting larger funds. We know that not all people have the financial literacy required and there is nothing wrong with asking for help in this direction.

  • Show gratitude

Every person who has chipped in time and money to support your campaign deserves gratitude. So always find a way to express it, even if it's just by updating your fundraising information, even if it's just using your personal social media accounts.

  • Start a campaign on the crowdfunding platform PavelAndreev.BG

One of the best ways to fundraise is using the PavelAndreev.BG crowdfunding platform. It makes it easy to start a campaign to help a friend or relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This way, you will not only reach more people, but also have a better chance of raising the necessary amount for treatment faster.

The first step of starting a campaign is registration. Creating an account on the PavelAndreev.BG platform is quick and easy. Basic personal information and account verification is provided.

The second step is to plan the campaign. It is important to set a clear fundraising goal and the exact amount you will need to cover the costs before you post it.

The third step is to create attractive content. Develop compelling content for your campaign, including a detailed description of the disease you are fundraising for. Sharing personal, emotional stories related to the patient impacts potential donors.

The fourth step is to publish your campaign on the platform.

The fifth step is to spread the word about your campaign as much as possible: through social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, YouTube, online channels and offline events.

Don't waste time and start a campaign. The PavelAndreev.BG platform unites people in need with those who are ready to help.

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