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Preventing Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. In fact, only skin cancer is more common. Over 200,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and one in six men will be diagnosed with the disease during their lifetime.
But, there is some good news about prostate cancer, too. Of the one in six men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, only one in 34 will die from the disease. And, death rates from prostate cancer are declining because of earlier detection and better treatments.
Prostate cancer is usually a slow growing form of cancer, making it an excellent target for prevention.
Who Gets Prostate Cancer?
While doctors don’t fully understand exactly what causes prostate cancer, there are some risk factors that do increase a man’s likelihood of developing this disease.
Age – Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are over the age of 65. By the time a man reaches the age of 80, his chances of getting prostate cancer are greater than 50%. However, at this age, prostate cancer is often not fatal, because it grows so slowly that other health factors are more significant.
Ethnicity –Doctors do not understand why, but African-American and Hispanic men are at a greater risk for prostate cancer than Caucasian men.
Diet – Diets high in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Conversely, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in anti-oxidants and low in saturated fats reduces a man’s risk.
Some foods that are particularly thought to be important in decreasing your risk of prostate cancer include:
• Tomatoes – the lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful anti- oxidant and is thought to be particularly effective in preventing prostate cancer.
• Vitamin D
Family History – A man’s risk for developing prostate cancer is greater when he has had a father or brother who has developed the disease. This is especially true if his relatives developed the disease at a young age.
How Can I Prevent Prostate Cancer?
Well, obviously diet is of significant concern in preventing prostate cancer. Make certain that your diet is low in saturated fats and high in fruits and vegetables. Stick to lean cuts of meat and be sure to get your fair share of fish that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Another important aspect of protecting your prostate health is seeing your doctor. Currently, there are two ways of testing for prostate cancer. The first is a simple digital rectal exam. Most men will have this exam as part of a regular physical beginning after age 40.
In this test, the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger in the anus and manually feels the prostate gland. The doctor can feel if the prostate is enlarged, or if lumps can be felt. This is an important exam, but it’s not perfect, because the doctor can only feel the bottom and sides of the prostate gland. There could still be problems with the top of the gland, or there could be tumors too small to feel.
The second test is called a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test. This is a blood test that checks the level of a protein made by the prostate. A normal prostate makes just a little of this protein, but when a man has prostate cancer, he typically produces very high levels of PSA.
Finally, along with your healthy diet, consider adding green tea. Green tea has been shown in many studies to prevent some forms of cancer, prostate cancer among them. There has been a fairly wide body of research on this subject, as well as on the ability of other foods and vitamins (such as the ones listed above) to prevent prostate cancer.
The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial is a document that examines all of these possible preventers, and looks at the evidence that exists to support their effectiveness. This report has been published by the UK Tea Council and covers much of the research that supports the theory that green tea can prevent prostate cancer.
In addition, this report discusses the strides made in prostate cancer prevention, and why this cancer in particular should be a target for prevention, rather than treatment.
Men often assume that at some time in their lives they’ll be facing prostate problems, or possibly prostate cancer. And, it is still a common health issue that many men will face in their life time.
But, if all men can practice some simple prevention techniques, such as eating a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables and green tea, and visit their doctor regularly, it’s very possible that we can even further reduce the number of men who suffer prostate cancer.
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