Prostate Cancer - The Disease you can avoid
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in American men. Only lung cancer causes more deaths in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in United States in 2005. While the number of new cases continues to climb, death rates from prostate cancer are dropping. Greater public awareness and early detection may in part explain why. Treatment of prostate cancer in its initial stages can be effective. In the past year, the outlook for men with this diagnosis has improved dramatically. Over the last 20 years, survival rates for all stages of prostate cancer combined have increased from 67% to 97%.
Although the causes of prostate cancer are not yet completely clear, intensive research studies are now underway to identify them. Still, the medical experts do know that certain factors increase the risk of prostate cancer. Recognizing these risk factors and, when possible, controlling them are important steps in the prevention of the disease.
Know the risk factors
The risk factors linked to prostate cancer include age, family history of the disease, race, diet, and environment. Prostate cancer may be more likely to occur in a man who has one or more of these risk factors.
As a man ages, his risk of prostate cancer increases. More than 70% of all prostate cancer occurs in men older than 65 years. The disease rarely affects men younger than 40 years, but the number of cases that occur in the years that follow increases dramatically. In United States, it is estimated that prostate cancer will develop in one in 55 men between the ages of 40 and 59 years. In men between the ages of 60 and 79 years, the disease affects one in seven.
Men who have a close family member-father, brother, uncle-who has or had prostate cancer, are at higher risk for the disease themselves. This is particularly true if the relative was young when diagnosed with prostate cancer. Men with a family history of the disease may have a risk of developing prostate cancer two to 11 times greater than man without such history. The risk increases with the number of first degree relatives-parents, siblings-affected by prostate cancer and their ages at the time the disease began.
African-American men are at greatest risk for prostate cancer, although the reason for this is not known. Also, African-American men tend to have more advanced disease when they first visited Dr. then do either Caucasian or Asian men. More than twice as many African-American than Caucasian men die of prostate cancer. Yet, the disease occurs more often in Caucasian men than it does in Asian men.
Across the globe, geographic areas vary in the number of cases and resulting deaths associated with prostate cancer. Japanese men tend to have a lower incidence of this form of cancer. Men who live in regions of Central America and Africa have intermediate risk of the disease. Prostate cancer occurs most frequently in North American and North European men. Although differences in prostate cancer screening techniques may explain some of these varying risks, other factors may also play a role.
Studies have shown that prostate cancer is more common in men whose diets are high in fat. Development-or rather prevention-of prostate cancer may also be associated with the consumption of soy proteins. In United States the incidence of prostate cancer is up to 90 times greater than visit in Japan and the Republic of Korea, where the national diets are rich in soy products, such as tofu, soy milk, and miso. Soy contains two components called isoflavones that may account for its protective role. Isoflavones matched as weak forms of estrogen, a female hormone that helps to prevent prostate cancer growth. Some experts believe that Asian men have less prostate cancer because of the high intake of green tea in the Asian diet.
Certain other foods and supplements may also reduce a man's risk of prostate cancer. For example, cooked tomatoes are rich in his substance call lycopene, and anti-oxidant that helps protect cells from cancer. Pink grapefruit and watermelon are also rich sources of lycopene. Studies have shown that consuming large amounts of lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers found that man who ate at least two servings of tomato sauce per her week lower the risk of prostate cancer by 36%. Evidence also shows that the mineral selenium also lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Ongoing studies are looking at the role of substances such as vitamin E. in the prevention of prostate cancer.
A relationship appears to exist between exposure to ultraviolet radiation-the main source of the body's vitamin D production-and risk of prostate cancer: The lower the exposure, the higher the risk this may help explain why elderly men have higher rates of prostate cancer. Older men may have less sun exposure, which decreases the body's ability to produce vitamin D.
Steps to lower the risk of prostate cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends that all men 50 years and older undergo yearly screening. The ACS also recommends that African-American man, man with a family history of prostate cancer, and other men who are at increased risk for the disease begin screening at age 45 years and continued to undergo screening every year. Annual prostate cancer screening consists of a prostate specific antigen blood test and a digital rectal exam.
A healthy diet helps to lower the risk of prostate cancer. It is important to eat more servings of vegetables, grains, and fruits and fewer servings of red meat and fatty foods. A healthy diet contained five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Is important to always ask your doctor before taking a vitamin or supplement, particularly if you take other medications for any type of health problem.
Early screening can help in diagnosing prostate cancer and a treatable stage. Additionally, men should learn to recognize the risk factors for the disease and, with your doctor’s help, to determine your own risk. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, keeping physically active, and having regular medical checkups may help men lower their risk for prostate cancer.
Reprinted with permission from Neil Baum MD (neilbaum.com).
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