What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth of cells in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system. It is a small (almost walnut-sized) gland located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum (the last part of the large bowel), surrounding the urethra (the tube carrying urine out of the bladder). The prostate has two main functions: producing and storing fluid that helps make semen and regulating bladder control.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in males in the US (the first being skin cancer). Certain conditions increase the risk for prostate cancer. These include
- Age: The chances of getting prostate cancer increase with age. Most experts recommend considering screening when a man is 50 years old.
- Race: African-American men are at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Family history: There is a higher risk of prostate cancer in men who have a close family member (father, uncl, or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than 65 years old).
- Heredity: Certain genetic conditions may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
- Diet and lifestyle: Men who have a diet rich in animal fat and low in fruits and vegetables may have greater chances of getting prostate cancer. Being obese or having a sedentary lifestyle also raises prostate cancer risk.
- Smoking: It increases oxidative stress in the body, causing an increased risk of several cancers, including prostate cancer.
Can certain foods kill prostate cancer?
There is no particular food or recipe that can directly kill prostate cancer cells. Research is underway to discover the foods that may help prevent prostate cancer and aid the complete recovery of prostate cancer patients. It must be noted that the scientifically proven therapies for prostate cancer are crucial for treatment and should not be replaced by other means, including dietary supplements. Some of the foods that are suggested by studies to help in recovery or prevent prostate cancer relapse include
- Foods containing lycopene: Lycopene is a bright red compound found in tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables, including red carrots, papayas, watermelons, pink grapefruits and guavas. Although there is not sufficient evidence, some studies suggest that the antioxidant and immune-boosting properties of lycopene may help fight cancer cells. Grapefruit should be avoided by people consuming certain medicines, such as blood thinners, blood pressure medicines, medications to treat high blood cholesterol and medications to treat erection problems. Consult the doctor for more clarity.
- Plant-origin protein sources: These include soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and other pulses. These foods are rich in protein and low in fat and cholesterol. They help promote overall health and may hasten recovery from prostate cancer.
- Green tea: This tea is rich in antioxidants that boost immunity and well-being. A decaffeinated green tea provides the same cancer-protection benefits without the urinary side effects.
- Cruciferous vegetables: These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens. They help provide the essential vitamins and minerals that aid in recovery from prostate cancer.
- Fruits: Various fruits, especially cranberries, blueberries, strawberries and pomegranates are popular for their potential cancer-killing properties.
A balanced diet that includes these foods may promote an overall sense of well-being and help limit prostate cancer. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out the wastes and toxins from the body and keep the metabolism at optimum levels. Avoid sugary drinks and foods, red meat, barbecued or deep-fried foods and processed foods (such as chips and cookies), get ample rest and perform regular physical activities as per the doctor’s advice.
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If prostate cancer is detected early and appears to be slow-growing, invasive procedures, chemotherapy, radiation and other approaches can sometimes do more harm than good. Many prostate cancer treatments come with side effects, like incontinence or impotence, so it’s in the patient’s interest to put off invasive treatments as long as is medically safe. Active surveillance is where doctors "watch and wait" for changes that could prompt medical intervention.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is largely a disease of men over 40, so it’s around this age doctors recommend the first prostate screening. The first exam is a blood test to determine if there are abnormal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood – PSA is produced by the prostate. If the PSA is high, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, during which the doctor feels your prostate from inside your rectum with a gloved finger. Other diagnostic tests include an endoscopic biopsy of tumor tissue for analysis in a lab.
How Quickly Does Prostate Cancer Spread?Prostate cancer is a cancer that develops in the prostate gland in men and it is one of the most common types of cancer. In some cases, it can take up to eight years to spread from the prostate to other parts of the body (metastasis), typically the bones. In other cases, it may be more aggressive.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer.
- Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet.
- Prostate cancer is diagnosed by a digital rectal exam, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy.
- Symptoms may include
- frequent need to urinate,
- incontinence, pain,
- blood in the urine,
- fatigue, and more.
- Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging.
- Watchful waiting,
- cryotherapy, and
- other management strategies are available.
- Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this prostate cancer quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer and cancer death in males; in some men, identifying it early may prevent or delay metastasis and death from prostate cancer.
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- Prostate cancer is common in men over 50 years of age, with the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with aging.
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