Prostate cancer: What men need to know

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 - 17:34

Salome Phelamei

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that only affects men. As the name suggests, it arises in a man’s prostate - a gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over age 50, although cases of early cancer development have also been seen.

The disease is a major health concern for men. While most prostate cancers are slow growing, some cases are aggressive and can spread quickly to other parts of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes.

In India, prostate cancer incidences have grown by 1% every year, even though life expectancy has enhanced from 61.97 in 2001 to 65.48 in 2011, according to studies.

Causes:

The exact cause of prostate cancer is not clear, but doctors believe that diet plays a major role in contributing to the risk of the disease. Eating lots of red meat and deep fried food is linked with prostate cancer.

Other possible factors include:

Genetics- men with a family history of the disease are more like to have prostate cancer.

Hormones- play a major role as eating fats raises the testosterone levels in the body, which in turn speeds the growth of prostate cancer.

Age- the disease is more common among older men after the age of 50 than in men younger than 45.Age is considered as a primary risk factor.

Sexual factors- several case-control studies have suggested that men having multiple sexual partners or starting sexual activity early in life considerably increases the risk.

Physical activity- men who do not exercise are more likely to have prostate cancer.

Obesity- study has shown a clear association between obesity and raised prostate cancer risk.

 Signs and symptoms:

Generally there are no symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer. But, when the cancer is more advanced, symptoms may include:

 Frequent urination

Increased urination at night

Trouble urinating or painful during urination

Blood in urine or semen

Erectile dysfunction

Pain in lower back, hips or thigh.

Treatments:

Treating prostate cancer is easier when detected early or when it’s still confined to the prostate gland. Treatment options may vary depending on several factors- cancer growth rate, overall health, besides considering the benefits and potential side effects of the treatment is vital.

Watchful waiting- not immediate treatment is required here while your PSA blood levels are monitored regularly. Curative treatment may include surgery, various forms of radiation therapy, cryosurgery. Hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are generally reserved for cases of advanced disease (although hormonal therapy may be given with radiation in some cases). Some studies recommend that masturbation reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

Prevention

So far, there’s no evidence that shows to prevent prostate cancer. But, you can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by making healthy options –

- Eat more fruits and vegetables

- Choose low-fat diets

- Cut down on amount of dairy products

- Include fish in your diet, a fatty acid called omega-3 found in fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

- Cut down on red meats, particularly processed meats

-Maintain a healthy weight

- Drink green tea - men who drink green tea or take green tea extract are found to have a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

- Exercise.



First Published: Friday, December 6, 2013 - 15:35

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