The month of November is dedicated to changing the face of men’s health. Men grow their moustaches in the spirit of Movember to raise awareness about a variety of health issues concerning men. Part one of our Movember series focusses on Prostate Cancer.
(The causes, risks, symptoms, and prevention).
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits just in front of the rectum and secretes a fluid that nourishes and protects sperm.
The facts about prostate cancer
The exact cause of prostate cancer remains unknown, however, doctors do know that it occurs when some cells in the prostate become abnormal. Abnormalities in these cells’ DNA cause the cells to divide and multiply rapidly which results in the formation of a tumour. The abnormal cells can break off and invade other tissue and spread as cancer.
There are many risk factors that are associated with prostate cancer.
- Obesity: A man who is obese and diagnosed with prostate cancer will more likely suffer from an advanced disease that is more difficult to treat.
- Race: For undetermined reasons, black men tend to have higher rates of prostate cancer than men of other races and their cases tend to be more aggressive or advanced.
- Age: As men age their risk of prostate cancer increases.
- Family history: Men who have male relatives that have had prostate cancer, or relatives who have a history of breast cancer, may be at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
The symptoms that are associated with prostate cancer
Men who suffer from prostate cancer may experience the following symptoms:
- Trouble urinating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bone pains
- Decrease in urine stream force
- Blood in semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
The complications that are associated with prostate cancer
- Incontinence: Prostate cancer, as well as its treatments, may cause urinary incontinence. Treatments for incontinence depend on the type, severity, and likelihood of improvement over time. The treatment options may include surgery, medication, and catheters.
- Erectile dysfunction: This may result from the prostate cancer itself or the treatment thereof, especially surgery, radiation, or hormone treatments.
- Metastasizes (cancer that spreads): Prostate cancer may spread to other organs such as the bladder or through the bloodstream. Prostate cancer may also spread through the lymphatic system to your bones, causing pain and broken bones. Once prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body it may be treated or controlled but is unlikely to ever be cured.
- Have a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to improve your overall health. Avoid foods that are high in fat.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your doctor to help you plan for healthy weight loss if you have excess weight you may need to lose.
- Exercise most days of the week. If you are new to regular exercise, start off slow and gradually exercise more each day.
- Choose healthy foods instead of supplements. There is no evidence that supplements can help lower your risk of prostate cancer as opposed to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Speak to your doctor about the risks associated with prostate cancer. Men who have a higher risk of prostate cancer may need to consider taking medication or treatments to reduce the risk.