It is important to know that cancer of the prostate gland is the most common form of cancer for Australian men and the second leading cause of cancer death among them. It is primarily a disease of ageing. Men in their thirties and forties rarely develop prostate cancer, but the incidence increases steadily after the age of fifty.
Approximately 80 per cent of all cases occur in men over the age of sixty-five, and by the age of eighty, 80 per cent of all men have prostate cancer to some degree.
So lets talk about it…
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland at the base of the bladder that encircles the urethra, the tube through which urine is voided. The prostate produces prostatic fluid, which makes up the bulk of the male ejaculate and nourishes and transports the sperm.
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer. They mostly occur in the rear portion of the prostate gland; the rest originate near the urethra. Lymphatic vessels leading from the prostate gland to the pelvic lymph nodes provide a route for prostate cancer to spread to other areas of the body.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Possible symptoms of prostate cancer can include one or more of the following:
- pain or a burning sensation during urination
- frequent urination
- a decrease in the size and force of urine flow
- an inability to urinate
- blood in the urine
- continuing lower back, pelvic, or suprapubic discomfort
However, the disease often causes no symptoms at all until it reaches an advance stage and / or spreads outside the gland. In addition, these symptoms most often are caused not by cancer, but by an enlarged prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Causes Of Prostate Cancer
The exact cause or causes of prostate cancer are not known. However, there are certain risk factors that have been linked to its development.
- Men aged sixty-five and older
- African- American men
- Men who have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with prostate cancer are at increased risk.
- The incidence is higher among married men than it is among unmarried men
- Also at increased risk are men who have had recurring prostate infections
- A history of venereal disease
- Those who have taken testosterone
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals increases risk
- There is a link between a high-fat diet that is low in fruits and vegetables and prostate cancer
This may be due to the fact that heavy fat consumption raises testosterone levels, which could then stimulate growth of the prostate, including any cancer cells it may be harboring. Some studies have suggested that vasectomy may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, although other studies contradict this hypothesis.
A clear message from migration studies is that most prostate cancer is due to diet and to environmental factors, not genetics.
Clearly, disease of the prostate gland is a major health issue for men. However, surgical removal of the prostate has a number of significant risks.
Since many of the nerves required for bladder control and erection are contained within the prostate gland, surgery to remove the prostate may also remove some of these nerves, rendering a man impotent or unable to control his bladder.
It is now believed that the metabolic products of testosterone cause an enlarged prostate and cancer. Within the prostate gland, the hormone testosterone is rapidly and irreversibly converted by an enzyme to a more potent product called DHT.
Amazingly, green tea, essential fatty acids, and berries help to keep the enzyme in check that converts testosterone into DHT.
A German study has shown that the herb saw palmetto is more effective and has less side effects, than the prescription drug commonly used to treat enlarged prostate glands.
Foods To Avoid
- Diets high in saturated fats
- Safflower oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and cottonseed oil
- Red meat and organ meats
- Anabolic steroids
- Excessive seafood and shellfish
- Dairy products
Harvard researchers found that men who get at least ten servings of tomato based foods per week are 45 per cent less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Lycopene is a retinoid found in abundance in tomato products and watermelon. Lycopene is the most abundant carotenoid stored in the prostate gland, and is more potent than beta carotene in protecting against prostate cancer. Lycopene is not stored for very long, which means that a daily dose of lycopene-rich food is in every man’s best interest.
Lycopene is absorbed better when tomatoes are cooked with olive oil or baked. Also limit synthetic fat intake since it reduces beta carotene and the amount of lycopene in the body.
Obviously, men should enthusiastically eat these foods to beat and prevent prostate cancer !
Men should regularly see their GP and discuss any concerns as soon as possible. Early detection is key to curing this cancer.
For further information visit: www.prostate.org.au
Have you gone through prostate cancer or helped somebody through it?