Prostate Cancer causes 1 in 3 of all cancer-related deaths in men. Although it is rare for a man under 40 to get prostate cancer, itâ€™s never too soon to start watching your body and taking preventative measures to reduce your odds of getting prostate cancer when youâ€™re in the high risk age range (40 years or older, when you should begin regular prostate screening for prostate cancer symptoms).
Prostate cancer begins in the prostate, a part of the reproductive system. The prostate is a gland about the size of a large nut that wraps around the urethra. Many prostate cancer side effects and symptoms are related to problems of ease and comfort when urinating because of the prostate’s proximity to the urethra. There are rarely early prostate cancer warning signs or symptoms, so testing is key.
Prostate Cancer Side Effects:
- Trouble initiating urination (you have to urinate, but itâ€™s slow to come)
- Dribbling of urine, especially after you urinate or have trouble urinating
- Not being able to urinate, or not urinating frequently enough, causing a retention of urine.
- Excessive urination at night
- Pain urinating or ejaculating
- Blood in urine
- Lower back pain (your kidney pain location is on the left and right side of the back of your waist). Not urinating frequently can cause bacteria to accumulate, and may lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI)–watch for a fever.
- Pain during bowel movements
- Weight Loss
So how can you reduce your chances of getting prostate cancer? Protect your prostate health!
Start with a low fat diet; a diet high in fat has been associated with high testosterone levels, which may increase your risk or prostate cancer. A low fat diet may decrease your risk of cancer in general, as well as have many other health benefits and help prevent other diseases. Itâ€™s important to choose lean meats, fish (always choose fish that have a low toxicity rating–many gourmet grocers offer a handy chart), and protein sources other than meat like walnuts, which are a great source of the antioxidant Omega-3 fatty acid. Getting lots of antioxidants from sources like fruits and vegetables may also help reduce your risk of cancer.
Like eating a healthy diet, having an active lifestyle can also decrease your risk for prostate cancer as well as other disease. Going for a daily thirty minute walk is enough to count as an active lifestyle, but even better is alternating days of intense thirty minute exercise (full of sprinting) and days of weight training. If you have other health concerns or diseases, consult a doctor before beginning an intense exercise regime.
Get regular screenings. When prostate cancer symptoms are caught early (before you would even notice any prostate cancer symptoms), prostate cancer treatment options (removal of cancerous cells) are much less severe and the prostate cancer prognosis is much more optimistic then your options when prostate cancer is caught at a later stage (when prostate cancer treatment may involve removal of testicles). If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you are at a higher risk, inform your doctor and discuss whether you should get earlier or more frequent screenings for prostate cancer. Youâ€™re also at a higher risk if you’re of African American decent, or if you have been exposed to chemicals (as a farmer, plant worker, painter, etc.).
Look for nutrients (possibly in supplement form) that optimize the functioning of the male reproductive system and prostate health. These nutrients look to provide the building blocks that lead to balanced testosterone levels–testosterone is necessary for proper sexual function (when you have high testosterone levels, youâ€™re more likely to be aroused, both men and women tend to have high testosterone levels in the early morning). It is preferable to take steps to maintain prostate health as well as health overall then to deal with prostate cancer, which can significantly affect quality of life.