Prostate cancer is a disease that you should be aware of. It is the most common cancer in Canadian men with a 1 in 7 chance of developing the disease, and the statistics are similar for American men. Your risk of getting the disease increases with age, and if there is a family history of blood relatives with the disease. While there is nothing you can do about the risk factors, you can reduce your cancer risk by making healthy choices each day. Also, know what to look for and be on the lookout for the early signs. The cure rate is very high when prostate cancer is treated in its early stages.
Being On the Lookout
If you’re a man over 50 or you develop any of these symptoms, see your doctor and get tested.
- Frequent urination
- An intense need to urinate
- Difficulty in starting urine flow
- Difficulty in stopping urine flow
- Inability to urinate
- Weak urine flow
- Stoppages in urine flow
- The sensation that your bladder is not completely empty after urination
- Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain during orgasm
Diet Is Important
Many health problems can be avoided with a healthy diet. Healthy eating may reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Avoid foods that are high in fat. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy body weight, it could help to reduce your chances of developing cancer of the prostate as well as other cancers and heart disease.
- Choose lower fat content foods more often
- Avoid margarine, butter and cream
- Choose leaner cuts of meat or low fat alternatives to meat
Vegetables and Fruit
Choose a variety of vegetables and fruits to eat every day. Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage have been linked to reduced rates of prostate cancer. In addition, vegetables rich in lycopene such as tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya and apricots are also helpful in reducing the risk.
While it is not yet clear that diet and keeping your weight down can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, it’s never a bad idea to stay active and maintain a healthy body weight. It is proven that an unhealthy diet, extra weight and lack of exercise can increase your risk of prostate and other cancers.
Being Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
Learning that you have a disease like prostate cancer can be devastating news. It is not however an automatic death sentence. In fact, catching the disease in the early stages increases your treatment options and chance of cure – which is why early and regular screening is so important. There are a number of treatment options available.
Brachytherapy is a method where small radioactive seeds are implanted directly into the prostate gland with a series of needles. While effective, recurrence of the disease after treatment is not uncommon.
Another option is Cryotherapy. Your prostate is frozen and thawed, destroying the cancerous tissue. While effective, there can be side effects such as impotence, urinary incontinence and pain in the pelvic region.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
HIFU therapy is a minimally invasive procedure where ultrasound waves are used to create intense heat in cancerous cells thereby destroying them. Because this therapy can be repeated and is effective in local tumour control, prostate cancer survival is indeed a real possibility. HIFU also results in less serious side effects, like incontinence and impotency, than surgery and radiation. The Maple Leaf Clinic in Toronto was the first to offer the Hifu prostat cancer in North America. The treatment is currently not available in the U.S.
Live a healthy lifestyle to reduce your chances of getting prostate cancer, but speak to your oncologist about all your options if you do get diagnosed with the disease.