By Spencer Rogers
What is the prostate and what does it do? The prostate is a gland in the male body about the size of a walnut located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. Now what the prostate does is not essential to the man’s survival, but for reproduction. It supplies chemicals that facilitate in the fertilization of the egg, as well as sperm transit and survival. A man does not need his prostate to survive, but would be infertile without one.
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancers among men today behind skin cancers according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. It is forecasted that as many as 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Famous men who have been diagnosed with and survived prostate cancer include James Brown, Robert DeNiro, Rudy Giuliani, John Kerry, Nelson Mandela, and Colin Powell.
It is so common, a man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Additionally, PCF research has found a man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop bladder, colon, kidney, lymphoma, and melanoma combined.
Prostate cancer generally affects older men, with the likelihood of developing the cancer beginning to rise starting at age 40, and with the highest at-risk age range being 65 and older. African American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer and have a mortality rate nearly 2.5 times higher than Caucasian men. Other risk factors for prostate cancer can include smoking, lack of vegetables, tall height, lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle, high calcium intake, and family history.
Symptoms and early warning signs of prostate cancer can include a need to urinate frequently, especially at night, difficulty starting urination or holding back urine, weak or interrupted flow of urine, painful or burning urination, difficulty in having an erection, painful ejaculation, blood in urine or semen, and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Some men, however, will not experience symptoms and signs of prostate cancer are first detected by their physicians during a routine check-up. These symptoms might also indicate the presence of other prostate disorders and diseases such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), and prostatis and should be investigated by the man’s physician.
What can you do to help prevent the development of prostate cancer? PCF research indicated that taking in fewer calories and maintaining a healthy weight has shown to help. Other dietary recommendations include watching one’s calcium intake, eating more fish for the omega-3 fatty acids, eating cooked tomatoes that have been cooked in olive oil, easting cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and avoiding smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation.
Treatment of prostate cancer is determined on how early the cancer is detected. PCF research indicated that about 90% of cases of prostate cancer are detected in the first two stages and the cure rate is nearly 100%. For some men, treatment is not required and may never become a problem for them.
Treatment options for prostate cancer include surveillance, prostatectomy (removal of the prostate), radiation therapy (including radioactive seed implantation), hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Side effects of these treatments are relatively rare, and can include urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, and infertility.