Prostate cancer is one of the major health problems for men who are over 50. There are almost a quarter of a million new cases diagnosed in the United States every year. Rarely found in younger men, most experts agree that almost all men who are over the age of 80 have some signs of prostate cancer. For reasons that aren’t fully understood, prostate cancer is rarely found outside the United States or countries with a western diet.
Family history seems to play a large role in predicting who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer but researchers can’t say for sure who will get it or why. Almost all experts agree that diet is a key factor in developing the disease and men who consume large quantities of animal fats such as red meat are the most likely to be diagnosed. In countries that routinely consume a large quantity of fruits, rice and vegetables the disease is almost unknown.
The prostate gland is an organ that is responsible for producing most of the fluid in sperm. An organ that is approximately the size of a golf ball, it surrounds the beginning of the urethra as it leaves the bladder. As we age, the prostate gland normally gets bigger and this can restrict the urethra and slow down the flow of urine leading to frequent urination, often at night. This condition known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) can be uncomfortable and annoying but is not related to prostate cancer and isn’t life threatening.
The diagnosis of BPH is easy to make but the signs of prostate cancer don’t show up until the disease is quite advanced. Prostate cancer develops without any physical symptoms and without any physical discomfort. If the cells of the prostate start to grow and multiply out of control they can form a tumor in the prostate. If this growth goes on long enough these cells can travel to other parts of the body and develop into tumors there as well. The bones and lymph nodes can become cancerous because of these tumors.
Prostate cancer is routinely curable when it’s caught before these cells have left the prostate gland. Fortunately, the vast majority of men detect it in these early stages. Once the cancer has spread to other organs the cancer is not curable and treatment must be started immediately to keep it from getting any worse.
So, what can you do to prevent the incidence of prostate cancer? Although the exact cause of prostate cancer isn’t known there are some things you can do help your chances. A vegetarian diet or a diet that contains minimal animal fat seems to slow down the growth of prostate tumors. Some foods like soybeans and tomatoes are also known to inhibit or prevent tumors. If you are an American male who is over the age of 50 you would be wise to go for a yearly physical examination that includes a prostate exam. Diagnosing the disease is routine and catching it early is the key to curing it.