November 28, 2007

Prostate Cancer Statistics That Will Help Your Fight Against The Disease

The prostate gland, found only in men, is located underneath the bladder. Shaped like a donut and about the size of a walnut, it surrounds the urethra -- the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate's primary function is to produce seminal fluid which mixes with sperm during ejaculation.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects men in Western society. This particular form of cancer grows more slowly than others however, and sometimes may not even require any treatment. But some grow more quickly and can spread to other parts of the body, such as the surrounding bones, which can cause a lot of pain. In the USA, UK, Australia and Canada there are approximately 280,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

A common symptom that indicates the presence of the disease includes difficulty urinating, especially at night, and sometimes even the complete inability to urinate. Other symptoms can include a weak urine stream, lower back pain, blood found in the urine, pain during urination, and pain in the upper thighs and hips. These symptoms don't necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer, and may only be an indication of benign prostate hypertrophy, or BPH, which is simply the enlargement of the prostate. In any case, you should consult your doctor for a thorough diagnosis.

Research that seeks to determine the underlying causes of prostate cancer have been unable so far to come to a definitive conclusion. However, there have been a number of risk factors that have been identified. One risk factor is thought to be radiation, which is a likely reason for some cases. Around 10% of patients are men that have a family history of prostate cancer, which suggests that genetics plays a role. It is generally believed that a family history of prostate cancer can increase your risk anywhere from two to five times.

The most important risk factor appears to be age. Men under the age of 50 are very unlikely to develop prostate cancer, but over half or all prostate cancer cases are men over the age of 75.
Other research suggests that the quality of your diet can affect your risk of developing prostate cancer. To minimize the risk, try to follow a low-fat diet, and eat lots of foods that contain lycopene -- tomatoes and cruciform vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

Vitamin E also appears to be effective according to some studies, however this hasn't been fully confirmed. Another possibility is selenium; some studies suggest a daily dosage of 200mcg can reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

One common myth that has been thoroughly debunked is the belief that have a vasectomy increases a man's susceptibility to prostate cancer. This is simply untrue; there is no noticeable difference in prostate cancer rates among men who have and have not had a vasectomy.

Remember, the most important key to successful treatment is early diagnosis of the disease. Once prostate cancer reaches the advanced stages it can be very difficult to cure, and the threat of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body also increases the longer you wait. If you are reached the age of 50, make sure you understand the symptoms and get regular checkups.
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