Guest Post by Margaret Keely
Medical experts say that prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of death among American men. In fact, it falls second to lung cancer as being the most common men killer. Prostate cancer usually occurs in men aged 40 and above, although younger men might also be at risk. The exact cause of prostate cancer has yet to be identified, but experts have concluded that certain changes in lifestyle and diet can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. But how exactly can you prevent it? Let’s discuss it here.
Undergo prostate exam. If you are at least 40 years old, you are advised to go through a prostate exam once a year. This will monitor your prostate healthand determine if you have prostate cancer. You have two exam choices: digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). DRE involves checking your prostate for signs of cancer through the rectum, while PSA measures the PSA level in the blood. Talk to your doctor about the exams and what needs to be done if you’re found to have prostate cancer.
Improve your diet. Eat lots of fruits of vegetables. Incorporate whole grain, soy products, and omega-3-rich foods into your diet as well. Make sure to consume foods with high levels of folate like cabbage and broccoli. And remember to lower your intake of high-caloric and fatty foods.
Have a regular time for exercise. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce the risks of virtually all kinds of illnesses, cancer included. So try incorporating exercise routines into your daily activities. If you’re a busy person, thirty minutes to one hour of exercise will already do a lot. You can try running, cycling, and other aero exercises. Morning is the best time to exercise, but you can choose any time of the day, for as long as you religiously commit to your exercise schedule.
Quit smoking. Smoking is one of the risk factors of prostate cancer. In fact, it is a risk factor of other types of cancer and diseases. Quitting, however, is somewhat difficult to do, so it requires persistent effort and dedication. If you find it extremely hard to quit, you might want to seek professional help.
Increase your selenium intake. Selenium has antioxidant properties that are believed to lower the risk of prostate cancer. It is found in eggs, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and chicken, although selenium supplements are also now available. If you decide to take supplements, make sure to consult your doctor. The doctor needs to ensure that you will benefit from supplements and that your existing medical conditions, if there is any, won’t be affected.
Have enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D can be found in cheese and fish liver oil, but sunlight is the most abundant source. A 15-minute exposure to morning sunlight is recommended. Make sure, however, not to overexpose yourself to sun. Overexposure, especially to afternoon sunlight, can be damaging and can eventually cause skin cancer.
Prostate cancer often doesn’t manifest itself. This is why you need to constantly monitor your prostate health. Partner with your doctor to make sure you will never be a candidate for prostate cancer.
Margaret Keely, a health writer and a nursing education course provider, hopes to increase people’s cancer awareness level.
Cancer of the prostate is typically a slow progressing cancer and symptoms often do not arise for many years. If the cancer is caught at an early stage, there might be no noticeable symptoms. Some men, however, will experience symptoms that could indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These might include:
* A need for frequent urination, particularly at night
* Difficulty starting urination
* Weak or interrupted urine flow
* Pain or a burning sensation during urination
* Difficulty in obtaining an erection
* Pain during ejaculation
* Blood in the urine or in semen
* Recurring pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Sometimes the first symptoms will be lower back, hip or pelvic pain caused by cancer which has already spread.
It is important to be aware that the symptoms of both benign enlargement of the prostate gland (i.e. non-cancerous) and malignant tumours (cancer) are similar and might include any of the following symptoms:
* Difficulty starting urination
* Frequent urination, particularly at night
* Pain during urination
* Blood in the urine
Also, men over 50 years of age often have an enlarged prostate gland due to the non-cancerous condition of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or hypertrophy.
Therefore if you notice any of the above symptoms it is important that you see your doctor and have them investigated. But note that most enlargements of the prostate are not due to cancer and can regularly be dealt with quite effectively.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF PROSTATE CANCER
Prostate cancer can often be discovered at an early stage by testing the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. Prostate cancer can also be detected early by your doctor performing a digital rectal examination (DRE). Since the prostate gland is situated close to the rectum, a doctor can physically detect if there are any cancerous signs in your prostate.
Unfortunately the PSA and DRE tests are not totally accurate and conclusive. This can lead to anxiety and confusion, or even to a false sense of security. So important things to consider are your age, your general health and your lifestyle. If you are young and develop prostate cancer, if not caught early enough, it could shorten your life. If however you are older or in poor health, then prostate cancer might never become a serious problem due to its slow-growing nature.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men commence having the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal examination (DRE) annually from the age of 50. Those at higher risk, such as African Americans and those with close relatives who developed prostate cancer at an early age are recommended to commence testing at 45.
The prognosis for prostate cancer sufferers has improved dramatically in recent years. In the past twenty years the overall survival rate for all stages of prostate cancer has increased from 67% to 97%. Thus more men are living significantly longer after diagnosis. In all likelihood this is due to early detection programs, increased public awareness, particularly of prostate cancer symptoms, and the adoption of healthier lifestyles.
The diagnosis of prostate cancer can be made on clinical suspicion of the disease, following screening, or as an incidental finding during transurethral resection for suspected benign disease (TURP).
Clinically suspected prostate cancer Prostate cancer can be completely asymptomatic or present with symptoms similar to benign prostatic enlargement (see symptoms). It can also present with the symptoms of metastatic disease. On digital rectal examination prostate cancer feels rock hard and nodular. Invasion into the surrounding structures may be palpable as a hard mass. Spread to the lymph glands may be palpable in the groins or pelvis. Bony metastases to the lumbar spine or pelvis are often tender to palpation. PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a substance excreted by all prostate cells. The blood level of PSA is elevated in prostate cancer and the level of elevation correlates with the extent of disease. The PSA level can also be elevated by benign diseases such as prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The normal range for PSA is 0 – 4 ng/ml. The higher the PSA the greater is the chance of having prostate cancer. Somebody with a PSA of 4 – 10 ng/ml has a 25% chance of having prostate cancer, while a PSA of greater than 10 carries a 50% risk of the disease. Very high levels of PSA (>100ng/ml) almost invariably indicate widespread metastatic disease. The diagnosis of prostate cancer is confirmed by needle biopsy and histological analysis of the biopsy specimens. A transrectal ultrasound scan is performed via a probe inserted into the rectum, and ultrasound guided needle biopsies of the prostate are taken. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic.
Screening All healthy men over the age of 50 years should have annual prostate cancer checks. Black men and men with a positive family history should start at age 40. The aim of screening is to diagnose the disease at an early stage while it is still potentially curable. By the time prostate cancer becomes symptomatic it is usually beyond cure. The screening tests consist of a digital rectal examination and a PSA blood test. The prostate gland may feel entirely normal despite the presence of an early cancer. The combination of PSA and digital rectal examination is more sensitive than either test alone. If one or both of these tests are abnormal a transrectal ultrasound and needle biopsies of the prostate gland are performed.
Incidental finding following TURP Whenever a transurethral resection of the prostate gland is performed for suspected benign disease the removed tissue is sent for histological analysis. Occasionally evidence of unsuspected prostate cancer is found in the tissue. In a young man with an otherwise long life expectancy this is obviously significant. A tiny focus of cancer in an elderly man is probably not significant, since the prostate cancer will not have sufficient time to become bothersome.
With our next information – we will inform you about the “Diagnosis of prostate cancer” – so you should have a look on this site in the next 2 weeks! If you have any question sends us your e-mail.