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February 25, 2008

Fighting Prostate Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. Thus, it always a good time to learn about prostate health , a subject all men should address with their physicians before having to deal with it while sitting in the patient's chair.

The prostate is a male sex gland located just under the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate is responsible for making semen, the thick fluid that mixes with sperm and helps to push it through the urethra and penis during sex. As men age, their prostates may enlarge and cause symptoms such as a slow stream or increased frequency of urination in a benign process called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). However, in other cases, they may develop prostate cancer.

For example, researchers support that a 50-year-old man who is expected to live another 25 years has a 42% chance of getting prostate cancer before he dies. Whether or not he develops prostate cancer, he will most likely die from an unrelated cause. He will have had no symptoms, and his prostate cancer will only be visible through a microscope at the time of his death. The risk to any healthy man of developing symptoms related to prostate cancer at any time during his life is only 10%, and his risk of actually dying from prostate cancer is only 3%. That said, screening for prostate cancer is still very important. Early detection and treatment of prostate cancer may delay or prevent tumor enlargement, metastasis (spread), and death.

While almost all men develop "silent" or latent prostate cancer cells if they live long enough, some lifestyle factors can increase a man's risk. Several studies have shown that being significantly overweight may promote the development of a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. In one recent study, those men who had gained more than 3.5 pounds a year between the ages of 25 and 40 were twice as likely to have this cancer recur as men who gained less weight. Also, excess body fat that is located in and around internal organs and often indicated by more waistline fat may pose particular risks, even if a man is not obese. In a recent study, men with prostate cancer averaged about 50% more total abdominal fat than healthy men of the same age.

But, doctors assess that with proper diet, exercise and early detection, there is hope against this disease. Statistics reveal that in more than 1.8 million men, only in United States, have beaten prostate cancer. Studies have shown that prostate health depends on a plant-based diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Patients who have been researched were found to fight prostate cancer by eating specific types of foods that had protective compounds for good prostate health.

In fact, several foods, such as tomatoes, although the F.D.A. has issued an announcement that there is no particular evidence for this vegetable's ability to fight prostate cancer, nuts, cruciferous vegetables, onions, and spinach have shown some promise with this disease. Finally, herbs and nutrients such as green tea extract, stinging nettle root, ginger, rosemary, zinc, lycopene, and selenium have also been shown to help maintain and promote normal prostate health.

About the Author:

Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Men's Health, Arts, and Society

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