Nearly four hundred types of cancers are known to medical science. Of these, prostate cancer is one of the most fatal diseases which typically affects men older than 65 years of age. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 4 million men across the globe were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past one year, and about three-fourth of them lost their lives to this chronic disease.
The prostate is a small yet prominent gland located in the lower abdominal area of a man’s body. It is typically found below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The prostate is regulated by testosterone hormone and its main function is to produce semen, a substance that contains sperm which exit the body through urethra during ejaculation.
When an abnormal growth of cells, known as a tumor, forms in the prostate, it’s called prostate cancer. The cancer type is believed to invasive in nature, i.e. it quickly spreads to other parts of the body.
Types of prostate cancer
Most prostate cancer types are termed as adenocarcinoma – cancers that typically develop in the tissues of a gland. They are also classified on the basis of their growth rate:
- aggressive, or fast growing
- non-aggressive, or slow growing
In the case of non-aggressive prostate cancer, the tumor either grows very little over time or doesn’t grow at all. On the other hand, in the case of aggressive prostate cancer, the tumor grows quickly and even spreads to other parts of the, including the bones.
Who’s at risk?
While prostate cancer can happen to anyone, there are certain factors which increase a person’s chance of getting the disease as compared to others. These risk factors are as follows:
- Older age
- Genetic changes
- Certain ethnicities or race, such as African American males are at a higher risk having prostate cancer than other men around the globe.
- A family history of prostate cancer
Things Men Must Know About Prostate Cancer
Mentioned below are certain things which men must know about prostate cancer, especially if they’re considering getting screened for the disease:
- Age Factor – Age matters! Although men above the age of 65 are at the highest risk of getting prostate cancer, oncologists recommend that men aging between 55 and 70 years must get screened for the disease on a regular basis. This typically helps in identifying even the slightest of traces of the existence or onset of the disease, and treating the problem at its earliest stage.
At the same time, African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer at a younger age than 65. Hence, they must get tested against the disease once they enter their 40s.
- Diet matters – Diet and fitness are two essential factors which typically increase or decrease one’s chances of developing prostate cancer. Most dieticians and oncologists state that men with big bellies are at a higher risk and hence, losing weight and bringing about a change in their lifestyle along with eating habits is necessary.
Having a plant-based diet aids in reducing the odds of prostate cancer and even improve one’s overall health condition. A better diet and a proper exercise regime can significantly can reduce the chances of suffering from many heart, blood, and joint related problems as well.
- Smoking can aggravate Cancer – Smoking is injurious to health. It can not only trigger many other health related problems, but can open gates for cancers (including prostate cancer) as well.
- Family History – In most of the cases family history of prostate cancer can increase one’s chances of suffering from the problem. Checking your family tree is therefore important. If in case your father, grandfather, brother or uncle has ever had prostate cancer, you are at a risk of developing the disease as well.
- Screening Age varies According to Risk Groups – Age, diet, ethnicity and family history together place certain men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than others. Such men are classified under the high-risk groups. These men must get themselves screened earlier than the recommended screening age, i.e. 40 years and above.
During the screening process, a physician typically examines a patient’s Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) level. If it’s very low, then the person need not get another test done for the next five years. On the other hand, if it’s higher than usual, then it becomes a necessity to seek further assistance and look for early signs of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Prevention Tips
Certain risk factors for prostate cancer, such as a man’s age, cannot be controlled. However, many others can be controlled. For example, quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, maintaining weight, and exercising regularly. Such changes can reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer and many other related diseases
As per a recent study published by one of the leading medical associations of the world, diet plays a vital role in defining the onset and severity of prostate cancer. Evidence from the studies state that certain foods can significantly help in reducing a man’s risk of prostate cancer, while many others can aid in its aggravation.
Foods that help keep prostate cancer at bay, include:
- cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale
- oils with omega-3 fatty acids, such as olive oil, etc.
Foods which increase the risk of prostate cancer, include:
- milk and dairy products
- saturated fat found in animal products
- red meat
- grilled meat
Without a doubt, exercise can effectively help in reducing your risk of developing advanced prostate cancer and even losing your life to one. It helps in maintaining body weight, which is evidently the key to keeping the disease at bay.
Talk with your doctor
As mentioned above, prostate cancer can strike anyone, irrespective of one’s age. But, if it is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, the outlook is generally good. Talk to your physician about your risk of developing prostate cancer and take necessary precautions to keep the disease at bay.