Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men, and more than 2 million men in the United States are prostate cancer survivors. Although prostate cancer can be deadly, it is more often a slow forming cancer that when caught in time can be treated with very high success rates. We spent last Sunday honoring the men in our lives, but we may have neglected giving them the most important gift of all – good health. Educating is key to preventing, identifying, treating and ensuring good prostate health.
The prostate is a small walnut shaped gland located between the bladder and penis. The urethra runs through the prostate and is responsible for creating fluid to nourish and protect the sperm. It is responsible for creating the seminal fluid that transports semen out of the penis.
There are several primary prostate issues that men can develop as they age:
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate often caused by an infection. It causes trouble during urination. It is the number one reason why men under the age of 50 go to an urologist.
Enlarged Prostate occurs as the prostate begins to grow, due to various reasons. Nearly all men will develop this condition as they age. As it grows it will press on the bladder and urethra, causing difficulties during urination.
Prostate cancer is the biggest worry among prostate diseases. It is difficult to catch early, which is vital for ensuring proper and effective treatment. Early stage symptoms may be non-existent, which makes frequent and consistent check ups vital, particularly for men over 45. Like prostatitis and enlarged prostate, symptoms include frequent urination, difficult starting and stopping, weak/interrupted urinary stream, and pain or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation. Early stage prostate cancer is successfully treatable in nearly all cases, but if this cancer spreads outside the prostate then it is a far more dangerous situation.
There are several factors that increase likelihood for prostate cancer and other prostate related diseases.
Age. The Prostate cancer rate is higher for individuals older than 50, and some studies suggest that most men over 70 have some form of prostate cancer.
Family history of prostate cancer, and other related prostate diseases, including breast cancer, increases risk. African Americans have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world.
Diet. Areas with high levels of meat and dairy fat in their diets also have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world. These foods are linked to higher male hormone levels, which fuel the growth of these cancerous cells. Obesity also increases one’s risk of developing prostate cancer, and other prostate diseases.
There’s little anyone can do about their family history and age, besides ensuring they receive regular screenings. However, we can decrease the risk of developing prostate diseases by making smarter and healthier decisions with our diets. Here are several diet suggestions that will help you mitigate these risks.
- Eat five or more fruits and veggies a day.
- Alternate whole grains over white flour/rice.
- Limit your fat intake from meats, stay away from high fat meats such as lamb, high fat beef, pork sausage.
- Eliminate processed meats from your diet, including: ham, bacon, corned beef, salami, hot dogs, sausages, etc.
- Limit alcohol consumption to less than three drinks per week.
June is men’s health month and a great time to make sure that our men understand the importance of getting regular check ups to maintain health. Prostate diseases are extremely common in men, and there are numerous resources to ensure that your man is taken care of. Remind them to get a prostate check today.