The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just in front of the rectum, between the penis and the bladder.
The major function of the prostate is the production of fluid that makes up part of the semen.
Prostate cancer occurs when there is an abnormal (malignant) growth of cells in the gland’s tissue due to some changes in the gene.
As men grow in age, the prostate may grow bigger than normal, obstructing urine flow from the bladder and causing some sexual dysfunction. This condition is called Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) and can be surgically corrected. It is not cancer but may appear with similar symptoms as prostate cancer.
Risk Factors Of Prostate Cancer
Factors considered to increase your risk of developing prostate cancer include;
Age, Race and Gene
Prostate cancer is a ‘disease of aging’ affecting men who are usually 50 and above. It is the second most common cancer in men with a yearly diagnosis of about 1.6 million. About 360,000 men die every year of prostate cancer.
Statistics have it that prostate cancer affects more African men than whites, and African men are more likely to die from the disease than white men who have prostate cancer.
Positive family history is another indication that one is more likely going to develop prostate cancer. If your father, brother, or son has had prostate cancer in the past, your risk of developing the disease will be higher than average.
The male hormone, testosterone, which helps the body to grow and maintain male sex features, is converted into Dihydrotestosterone in the body. This form of the hormone is essential for the normal growth of the prostate. Unfortunately, it can also cause the prostate to grow bigger and this may contribute to the development of prostate cancer.
A study has shown that a diet high in dairy products, calcium, meat, fat, and vitamin E may cause an increase in the risk of prostate cancer.
How To Prevent Prostate Cancer
- Take enough folate: Folate is one of the B vitamins. It is found naturally in beans, orange juice, and green vegetables. The synthetic form of folate is the folic acid supplement which has been found to increase the risk of prostate cancer instead. Do not mix the two up.
2. Consume more of Selenium: Selenium is a mineral nutrient found in Brazil nuts, seafood, eggs, and organ meat. It offers powerful health benefits that protect the body from infections and chronic diseases.
3. Fructose/fruits: Vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables helps your body to break down cancer-causing compounds known as carcinogens.
4. Red foods: Tomatoes, watermelon, and other red foods contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the body from diseases. A study has shown that men who consume more lycopene have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who do not.
5. Soybeans and Teas: Soybeans and teas contain isoflavones, a nutrient that has been found to play a protective role in the prostate gland.
6. Quit Smoking: Smokers have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than those who do not smoke. It is not too late to stop. Remember your health is your biggest wealth.
7. Engage in exercise: Exercise lowers the risk of many types of cancer and heart diseases. Men who exercise have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who do not.
8. Frequent Ejaculation: Your risk of developing prostate cancer may reduce if you ejaculate frequently. However, the link between ejaculation rate and prostate cancer is still a controversial one as many researchers have opposing observations. Ejaculating up to 21 times a month is considered frequent in a study by the Harvard Medical School.
Preventing cancer entails taking actions that will lower your chances of getting cancer and or dying from it. While some risk factors of cancer such as smoking can be avoided, there is nothing one can do about genes and positive family history.
There are, however, many protective factors that may lower your prostate cancer risks and this article did justice to them.
Disclaimer: Taking preventive measures to stay free from cancer may lower your chances of developing one but does not offer absolute protection against any type of cancer.