In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
It’s not clear why it occurs, but your chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. The condition mainly affects men over 65, although men over 50 are also at risk.
The risk of developing prostate cancer is also increased in men who have a first-degree relative (dad or brother) with prostate cancer and in men of Afro-Caribbean origin.
Prostate cancer affects an estimated one out of every six males. Therefore it’s understandable that most men want to know at least something about prostate cancer, especially as they are approaching their 40s.
This article is going to touch on some of the symptoms and treatments, as well as some of the side effects that come with prostate cancer and prostate cancer treatment.
Also, this article is not intended to be a substitution for your doctor’s advice, so make sure that you seek a professional opinion if you feel that you may have prostate cancer.
So what is a prostate?
The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped sex gland in men that produces the seminal fluid, which nourishes and transports sperm.
The growth of the cells in the prostate gland is stimulated by the male sex hormone called testosterone. Though its causes are unknown, prostate cancer is a frightening prospect for men. This cancer threatens not just their lives, but also their sexuality.
One thing that’s important to note is that you may not suffer any symptoms at all. That is why it’s very important to be checked for prostate cancer frequently, and especially more so as you get older because they can find the prostate cancer before any symptoms show up at all in most cases. Some men that have prostate cancer may experience some of the following symptoms.
Prostate enlargement is a very common condition associated with ageing. Over a third of all men over 50 years of age will have some symptoms of prostate enlargement.
It’s not known why the prostate gets bigger as you get older, but it isn’t caused by cancer and it doesn’t increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
An enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra (see above), which can affect how you urinate.
Signs of an enlarged prostate can include:
- difficulty starting or stopping urinating
- a weak flow of urine
- straining when peeing
- feeling like you’re not able to fully empty your bladder
- prolonged dribbling after you’ve finished peeing
- needing to pee more frequently or more suddenly
- waking up frequently during the night to pee
There are also other choices and as I said before you should discuss these with your doctor.
Prostate Cancer Kills A Man Every 18 Minutes
One of the best things that you can do for your prostate is to make sure you take care of it in the first place. This may reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Just knowing some simple things such as:
- taking vitamin E,
- eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
- eating certain fats and red meat can reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
A man’s vulnerability to prostate cancer increases with age. Most often, prostate cancer is detected very late and people who lose their lives do not die from prostate cancer but die WITH prostate cancer. As cancer develops, it eventually squeezes the urethra, which surrounds the prostate.
The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. As with almost any other cancer, heredity also plays a key role. For reasons unknown, African-American men seem to have a higher risk of prostate cancer. A fat-rich diet and sedentary lifestyle also contribute to the risk.
Fat causes an increased production of testosterone, which may, in turn, lead to the development of cancer cells. High levels of testosterone mean higher chances of developing prostate cancer.
Therefore men who suffer from hypogonadism, or have been undergoing long-term testosterone treatments are at risk. A vasectomy may also result in prostate cancer, though there is no conclusive proof of this.
A routine screening test may reveal the beginnings of prostate cancer. A DRE (Digital Rectal Examination), which involves inserting a gloved finger into the rectum, helps the doctor to examine the prostate.
Any change in shape or size of the gland may mean trouble. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test analyzes a blood sample for the levels of PSA.
If a higher than normal level is detected, a prostate infection or cancer may be suspected. A transrectal ultrasound helps to further evaluate the prostate using sound waves. If initial tests produce positive results, a prostate biopsy may be done to verify the presence of cancer.
If cancer is confirmed, the next step is to investigate the spread of cancer. A bone scan, CT scan, and Ultrasound scan may be used for this.
If initial tests produce positive results, a prostate biopsy may be done to verify the presence of cancer. If cancer is confirmed, the next step is to investigate the spread of cancer. A bone scan, CT scan, and Ultrasound scan may be used for this.
The mode of treatment directly depends on how aggressive the cancer is. For most men, a combination of treatments (surgery, radiation paired with hormone therapy, chemotherapy) may prove effective.
The best way to reduce the risk from prostate cancer is to eat a diet rich in fibre and low in fat. Regular exercise also helps.
Healthy Eating For Prostate Health
Prostate illnesses such as prostatitis, prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy can both be treated or prevented if a person eats the right type of foods that help promote prostate health. A diet rich in anti-oxidants and limited in simple sugars and dairy products provides the body with an excellent platform from which to protect itself against cancer.
Some specific foods shown to be effective against prostate cancer include:
Brazil nuts contain as much as ten times of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for selenium. Studies show that an increased selenium intake can lead to a reduced risk for prostate cancer.
Fortunately, these nuts not only contain selenium but they are also good sources of zinc that are crucial for maintaining prostate health. Brazil nuts also contain essential amino acids that make up a complete protein.
Be aware that Brazil nuts are high in saturated fats. Eating a few ounces of Brazil nuts is enough for one week’s consumption. So too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good, as in the case of these nuts.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane which functions as our immune system defenders. Eating broccoli has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer because of its sulforaphane content. It helps activate antioxidant genes that protect the body from many health risks associated with free radicals.
Keep cooking to a minimum and if possible use broccoli raw in your meals. This is because research has shown that cooking broccoli will reduce the bioavailability of sulforaphane. It was found that the sulforaphane in cooked broccoli has only 3.4% bioavailability, compared to 37% of raw broccoli.
Broccoli also contains indoles which are known to be helpful in suppressing the growth of cancer cells.
Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan which is a type of beta-glucan that is known to help fight against cancer cells. Differing species of mushrooms contain ergothioneine. Ergothioneine has the ability to protect the body from damage caused by toxins and other harmful substances from the environment. It is an anti-oxidant which destroys free radicals and therefore helps prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Pomegranates have been receiving a lot of attention from many researchers. They have discovered that pomegranates contain high levels of a phytonutrient called ellagitannin. This phytonutrient in pomegranate extracts helps inhibit the production of prostate cancer cells.
Ellagitannins were also found to interfere with the body’s ability to produce new blood vessels. This may sound negative, but new blood vessels are important in the nourishment of prostate tumours.
Some experts claim that pumpkin seeds contain protective compounds that may prove helpful in reducing the size of the prostate.
The oil coming from pumpkin seeds helps prevent prostate cells from multiplying. Pumpkin seed also contains zinc which is a mineral essential for prostate health.
Population studies and clinical trials both offer convincing evidence that garlic is effective against a range of cancers, including prostate cancer. It has shown to be of benefit in the general prevention of cancer, as well as specifically inhibiting new tumour growth in patients already diagnosed with cancer.
As well as being able to be taken in its natural form, garlic is available as a supplement – as an oil, essential oil, powder, or extract. Cooking diminishes the viability of the natural product and is best eaten raw for maximum effect.
So you can add the above foods to your diet and start eating healthy for prostate health.