The prostate is a small gland situated between the bladder and the rectum in men. Its primary function is to produce seminal fluid. Seminal fluid protects sperm cells and transports them through the urethra. The prostate is often compared in size and shape to a walnut.
Prostate cancer develops when cells displaying uncontrolled growth, invasion, and/or metastasis (spread) arise in the tissues of the prostate. Most forms of prostate cancer grow slowly and remain confined to the prostate. As a result, this disease is very treatable if detected early.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Prostate cancer’s primary risk factors are unavoidable. This underscores the importance of regular cancer screenings.
- Age: Men over the age of 50 are more likely to develop prostate cancer than younger men.
- Family History of Cancer: If an immediate relative (father or brother) has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are more likely to develop the disease yourself.
- Ethnicity: For unknown reasons, black men are more likely to develop, and subsequently die of prostate cancer.
- Testosterone: Testosterone is a male sex hormone that stimulates the growth of the pancreas. Men with abnormally high levels of testosterone are more likely to develop prostate cancer than are men with normal or low levels of testosterone.
- Obesity: Obese men are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Studies suggest that fat cells promote testosterone production, which may lead to prostate cancer development.
Prostate Cancer Outlook (Prognosis)
A patient’s prognosis is established by cross-evaluating the following factors:
- Age of the patient
- Overall health of the patient
- Time of diagnosis
- The tumor’s location and behavior
- The patient’s candidacy for certain treatments
Prostate Cancer Prevention
It is impossible to prevent prostate cancer. As with all cancers, healthy lifestyle choices may contribute to decreased risk. Furthermore, regular screenings will increase chances of curability in the event of cancer development.
- Healthy Diet: Limit your consumption of fats and sugars, which promote obesity. Obesity has been linked to prostate cancer development. Consume an array of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Eat red meat and meats that are high in nitrates (pork and canned meats) in moderation.
- Regular Exercise: Find an exercise routine that complements your body type and schedule. If you don’t exercise regularly, start by walking for 30 minutes per day. Over time, increase the duration of your walks and add activities to your routine that contribute to a complete body workout. Although exercise cannot prevent prostate cancer, studies have shown that active men have less severe symptoms at the time of diagnosis than do men that live a sedentary lifestyle.
- Drug Therapy: Prostate cancer research shows that certain drugs may help prevent prostate cancer. Most of these drugs are designed to control and/or prevent the enlargement of the prostate gland. Ask your doctor about the benefits and side effects of the following drugs:
- Ibuprofin (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
- Finasteride (Proscar, Propecia)
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- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 1998-2009. Retrieved April, 13, 2009 from.
- Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). 2009. Retrieved April 13 2009 from.