Prostate cancer develops in men when the cells of the prostate grow out of control, instead of the normal growing and dying process that occurs in healthy cells. The prostate gland is located below the bladder, near the rectum and surrounding the urethra. This gland is responsible for the production of a fluid that mixes with sperm and is expelled during ejaculation in the form of semen. Therefore, when men suffer from prostate cancer, both their reproductive and urinary systems are affected.
Prostate cancer patients often experience symptoms like a need to urinate frequently, especially at night; difficulty starting urination or holding back urine; weak or interrupted flow of urine; painful or burning urination; difficulty in having an erection; painful ejaculation; blood in the urine or semen; or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Often, however, men notice these symptoms only when the disease is in an advanced state, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Preventing prostate cancer is not easy, but there are recommendations that can decrease the risk.
Thoughts on Prostate Cancer Prevention
Much progress has been made in recent years, with genetic and environmental risk factors identified, but the Prostate Cancer Foundation notes that the evidence is still too slim for absolute recommendations.
Many studies have been conducted over the years to understand prostate cancer and, ideally, find a way to prevent it. Unfortunately, that has not yet happened.
The largest trial was the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which included 18,000 men who were followed for more than a decade. This study revealed that the substances usually used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — finasteride and dutasteride — affect the probability of later developing prostate cancer. “This study showed that finasteride therapy reduced the risk that a man would be diagnosed with prostate cancer by 25 percent,” according to the foundation.
“The study did find a slightly higher rate of aggressive prostate cancers in men who took finasteride, which other studies have suggested may be due to artifact or greater ability to find more aggressive cancers due to a smaller gland size (i.e., a biopsy needle can more easily hit a cancer in a smaller gland than a larger gland),” the Prostate Cancer Foundation says.
Other methods known to decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer or reduce the progression of the disease are diet and lifestyle modifications.
Recommendations to Prevent Prostate Cancer
Given these considerations, the Prostate Cancer Foundation issued a series of 10 recommendations on prostate cancer prevention. These are based on risk factors identified by researchers, which include age, race, family history, geography, and diet.
The recommendations for prostate cancer prevention start with eating fewer calories or exercising more to maintain a healthy weight, as well as eating a minimum amount of fat through red meat and dairy products. The foundation also recommends men pay more attention to calcium intake and not take supplemental doses above the recommended daily allowance of 1,500 mg.
Eating more fish can increase the omega-3 “good fats” that protect against prostate cancer. “Try to incorporate tomatoes that are cooked with olive oil, which has also been shown to be beneficial, and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) into many of your weekly meals. Soy and green tea are also potential dietary components that may be helpful,” says the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Also, avoid smoking and drink alcohol in moderation. The foundation recommends that men seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression.
Researchers advise men to avoid over-supplementing with megavitamins. “Relax and enjoy life. Reducing stress in the workplace and home will improve your survivorship and lead to a longer, happier life,” the foundation says on its website.
“Finally, eating all of the broccoli in the world does not take away your risk of having prostate cancer right now. If you are age 50 or over, if you are age 40 or over and African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer, you need more than a good diet can guarantee. You should consider a yearly rectal examination and PSA test, and you should discuss the risks and benefits of these screening procedures with your doctor,” the foundation states.
Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.