What's Up, Doc? with Dr. Rajiv Singal

Dr. Rajiv K Singal,  MD, FRCSC
Dr. Singal joined the surgical staff at the hospital in December 1995 and has been in active practice at the hospital since July 1996. Singal currently leads the Surgical Robotics Program jointly run by MGH and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. He is also the top fundraising physician in Canada in support of Prostate Cancer Care. Follow Dr. Singal on Twitter @DrRKSingal

Hi - I'm Rajiv Singal. I'm a Urologist and in my job often many people ask... What do I need to know about Prostate Cancer? It's certainly a very common disease. One in seven men will be affected by this disease over the course of their lifetime. Now that doesn't mean everybody needs to be treated, but it's important that you get a sense of what your risk might be. 

The most important risks include family history, if you have a brother or a father who had prostate cancer, you should have a heightened awareness and similarly, certain ethnic groups: Caribbean, African American, African Canadian heritage, that's also very, very important. 

The good place to start is to go see your family doctor, have a discussion about your risks, ask for a blood test called PSA. I'm an advocate of an early baseline. If your numbers are very low and you have no other risk factors, you might not need to be seen for a few years and certainly if there's a further risk, you will be referred to a urologist. 

If you do need something, or do have a diagnosis of prostate cancer, even then, not everybody needs to be treated, some men do, some men don't. It really depends on a number of features that we can help you with. Treatment options range from surgery to radiation to radioactive seeds and your urologist can help you with that. What I would probably say at the end is just make sure that you get checked because if you don't know, you won't be able to know what your risk might be and certainly your urologist and your family doctor can help you with that discussion.