With November just around the corner, many of the men in our lives are beginning to plan their annual facial hair transformations. Yes, I’m talking about….MOVEMBER. As wonderful as this campaign is in raising Prostate Cancer Awareness and funds for cancer research, it seems to miss its mark on general prostate awareness. It is not just about Prostate Cancer Awareness, but more importantly, it’s about understanding prostate health. Your prostate gland is something to be aware of and the more you understand about it the better placed you are to avoid potentially life threatening problems with it.
It often surprises me that so few males know anything about their prostate. Some would say that the prostate and prostate cancer is the male equivalent of breast cancer for women. As women, we are very aware of the importance of regular examinations, screening and care. It comes down to the difference between life and death.
Unfortunately, many men seem unaware of prostate cancer and other prostate problems. I don’t know why men chose to ignore the subject. Is it embarrassment, or simply a lack of education/awareness? Regardless of the reason that men chose not to be interested in their prostate, it would be better for them if they did. Discussion of potential problems would encourage more men to get checked and would no doubt save many lives that might otherwise be lost.
Ignorance is no defense and that certainly applies to prostate health problems. Ignoring it will not make it all go away. Being unaware of possible symptoms only leaves you open to the chances of far greater health problems later. Learning about your prostate and discussing possible symptoms of prostate related health issues with your doctor can help you in overcoming those difficulties.
The prostate is not normally a problem for men until they reach middle age. Typically problems are most likely to appear once a man gets over fifty. The most common problem is that the prostate grows in size over time and this can lead to pressure on the parts of the body that are located next to it.
Trends in prostate cancer
Since 1980, the incidence rate for prostate cancer has generally increased. Part of the increase in incidence is likely due to the more widespread use of the PSA for the early detection of prostate cancer.
The death rate rose much more slowly during the same period and started to decline in the mid-1990s. Chances (probability) of developing or dying from prostate cancer
based on 2009 estimates, states that about 1 in 8 Canadian men is expected to develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and 1 in 8 will die from it.
For more information, click on the following link to Canadian Cancer Statistics .
Nutrition & Prostate Cancer
Nutrition plays a very important role in cancer treatment. Scientific evidence shows that nutrition and physical activity are the two most important modifiable risk factors to alter the course of cancer, prevent its occurrence, and stop its progression. Remember, you are what you eat and do not eliminate. Poor nutrition provides a favorable environment for cancer to grow and develop. Proper nutrition supports the immune system, starves cancer cells, and provides micro- and macronutrients.
• Avoid sugar (the preferred food of cancer), dairy products, refined foods, fried foods,
junk foods, caffeine, alcohol, nitrates, and food coloring. Limit high-fat (e.g., saturated and trans fats) foods, particularly red meat, which have been implicated in prostate cancer.
• Eliminate food sensitivities.
• Drink 50% of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb person would drink
75 oz of water). Drink spring or distilled water; avoid chlorine and fluoride.
Naturopathic Prostate Cancer Prevention
All men may benefit from:
• Foods rich in Vitamin E
• Foods rich in Selenium
• Ground Flaxseed
• A daily supplement of Vitamin D
The risk of developing prostate cancer may be lowered by consuming:
• Cooked tomatoes as found in pasta sauce, tomato juice, soup and tomato paste.
• Soy foods, such as soybeans, beverages and tofu
Lowering the Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence
The risk of prostate cancer progression may be lowered by:
• Lycopene rich diet such as vegetable juice (1 cup= 23.4 mgs), Tomato juice (1 cup=22.0 mgs), Tomato sauce ½ cup = 21.5 mgs)
• Ground flaxseed (1 Tbsp)
• Low fat vegan diet
• Daily supplement of Selenium (200 ugb). A ¼ cup of Brazil nuts will contain 544ug.
• Vitamin E (75 IU)- food sources such as almonds and sunflower seeds (1/4 cup= 10-12 IU)
Naturopathic Supplements & Prostate Cancer
Supplements are intended to provide nutritional support. Because a supplement or a recommended dose may not be appropriate for all persons, a physician (e.g., a licensed naturopathic physician or holistic MD or DO) should be consulted before using any product. Recommended doses follow:
• Curcumin – 400 mg 3 times daily.
Curcumin is a yellow pigment in Turmeric (Curcuma longa) with strong anti-inflammatory properties.
• Fractionated citrus pectin – 6grams, 2 times daily
Also called modified citrus pectin or MCP. MCP powder is usually dissolved in a small amount of water and then diluted juice. It interferes with cancer cells’ ability to aggregate and attach to healthy cells and inhibits cancer cell growth.
• Genistein – 200 mg daily.
An isoflavone that inhibits the growth of cancer cells and acts as an antioxidant. Soy nuts are high in genistein.
• Green tea – Drink at least 4 cups a day or take a standardized extract.
Inhibits cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
• Lycopene – 10 mg daily.
A carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes.
• Melatonin – 20 mg daily.
Inhibits cancer cell growth and potentiates the beneficial effects of chemotherapy and radiation while reducing their side effects.
• Selenium – 400–800 mcg daily.
A potent antioxidant.
• Vitamin D – .25–.50 mcg daily.
Inhibits cancer cell growth and may induce apoptosis.
• Vitamin E succinate – Inhibits cancer cell growth and promotes normal
• Zinc – 1550 mg daily.
Supports immune function. As zinc competes with copper for absorption, it is important to supplement with copper. Look for Zinc supplements containing copper.
Herbal Medicine and Prostate Cancer
Herbal medicines rarely have significant side effects when used appropriately and at suggested doses. Occasionally, an herb at the prescribed dose causes stomach upset or headache. This may reflect the purity of the preparation or added ingredients, such as synthetic binders or fillers. For this reason, it is recommended that only high-quality products be used. As with all medications, more is not better and overdosing can lead to serious illness and death.
• Saw palmetto (Serenoarepens) – Recommended dose is 300 mg 3 times daily.
Inhibits 5-alpha reductase (which converts testosterone [T] to dihydrotestosterone [DHT], an androgen 5 times more potent than T, which drives the growth of prostate cancer cells). Do not use this herb if on triple hormone blockade.
• Milk thistle (Silybummarianum) – Protects the liver from drugs and toxins and builds liver health.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Joann Osbourne ND
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, 2007
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