Men’s Health – Prostate Cancer

By November 23, 2021Health Tips
The Movember Foundation is a charitable organization that leads a campaign during the month of November putting a spotlight on men’s health issues.  You may have seen men growing a mustache for Movember – Mo for moustache.  The focus is primarily on three important issues that can shorten the lives of men – prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.  Today, we’ll start by talking about prostate cancer.  We will talk about the other issues over the next several weeks.
Men's Health - Prostate CancerWhat is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a small organ that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.  Cancer of the prostate is one of the most common types of cancer.  Some types of prostate cancer grow very slowly and do not spread to other areas.  These cancers may not cause any real harm.  However, there are other types of prostate cancer that are aggressive and can spread quickly to the bones and other areas of the body.
What causes prostate cancer?
Unfortunately, we don’t really know what causes prostate cancer.  As with other cancers, we do know that it starts when cells within the prostate develop changes within their DNA.  These changes make the cells grow and divide more rapidly and live longer.  These cells form a tumor and sometimes cells can break away and spread to other areas of the body.  We are still doing research to find out why the DNA changes start in the first place.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
  • Age – Risk increases with age, being most common after age 50.
  • Family history – Your risk is higher if you have a blood relative with prostate cancer.  Your risk is also higher if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, which may be related to genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2), which can also increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
  • Race – Black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than other races.  Prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive in black men.  Unfortunately, we don’t yet know the reason for this.
  • Obesity – Research shows some mixed results but does suggest that obesity may increase the risk of prostate cancer.  Obese men who develop prostate cancer are more likely to have an aggressive cancer that is also more likely to return after treatment.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
In the early stages, there may be no symptoms.  As prostate cancer becomes more advanced it may cause the following symptoms:
  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force of urine flow
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Bone pain
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Erectile dysfunction
Can prostate cancer be prevented?
You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer by making some healthy choices.  Here they are:
  • Eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Choose healthy foods over supplements.  No studies have shown that any supplements reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
  • Exercise most days of the week.  Exercise improves your overall health and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Know your family history.  Keep track of medical conditions that run in your family, including breast cancer, which may impact your risk of prostate cancer.
  • Talk with your doctor about your risk of prostate cancer.
Next week, we will talk more about prostate cancer, including the diagnosis and treatment.
Here is a link to the Movember foundation
If you have any questions about prostate cancer, please log into your account and send
us your question. We are here to help.

Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor

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