Posts Tagged ‘Prostate Specific Antigen tests’

Diet and Prostate Cancer

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Source: Well Source Newsletter

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the United States, an estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. And about 28,170 men will die of this disease. And even though the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 99 percent when found and treated early, research suggests that a healthy diet may help prevent this cancer from developing.

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Common risk factors for prostate cancer include: being older (over age 65), having a family history of prostate cancer, being African American, and being obese. But newer research suggests that a poor diet may also add to that list. And once a man has prostate cancer, diet may affect how fast the cancer grows and if it comes back after a man has been treated.

Food to limit
Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Men at risk for prostate cancer also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. But doctors are not sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk.

Some studies have linked eating a lot of animal fat to a higher risk of prostate cancer. And researchers believe it might be the way that the animal fat is cooked that makes a difference. As an example, one study found that eating greater amounts of meats, especially grilled meat, was linked to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Another study suggests that men who eat deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts more than once a week had a greater risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who ate these types of food less than once a week.

But it may not just be cooked animal fats to avoid. The National Cancer Institute says that “a diet high in dairy foods and calcium may cause a small increase in the risk of prostate cancer.”

Food to consume
Several studies have suggested that diets high in certain vegetables (including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, soy, beans, and other legumes) or fish may be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially more advanced cancers.

Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits is important for disease prevention in general. These types of food contain a variety of phytochemicals that promote health. One of those protective nutrients is lycopene. It is found in red vegetables and fruit. Research suggests that men who eat high amounts of lycopene from tomato products have a lower risk of prostate cancer compared to men who eat less. Other foods shown to help prevent prostate cancer include fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, pomegranate and green tea.

Prostate cancer is treatable. But it is also highly preventable. To prevent prostate cancer, men should eat a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry may also be consumed in moderation.

Encourage healthy lifestyle choices
In addition to eating a healthy diet, there are many other things men can do to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Exercising, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight can help. Research shows that being a healthy weight helps prevent prostate cancer. Being obese increases the risk for developing prostate cancer, and recurrence for those who have already had it.

Review risk factors for prostate cancer
Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about their health, risk factors for prostate cancer, and appropriate tests for cancer screening, such as the PSA blood test. Men with an increased risk for prostate cancer (African Americans, or men who have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65) should talk to their doctor starting at age 45 to take preventive measures and consider testing for prostate cancer.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


What is Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)?

PSA is a substance produced by the prostate and released into a man’s blood.  Healthy men usually have low amounts of PSA in the blood.  The amount of PSA in the blood normally increases as a man’s prostate gland enlarges; which is typical as a man ages.  Elevated levels of PSA may suggest prostate cancer, however there are other reasons why elevated levels may be present:  as a result of an injury, a digital rectal exam, recent (24 hours) sexual activity (ejaculation), or inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis).  When combined with a digital rectal exam at your doctor’s office, the test increases the chance of detecting prostate cancer.  A PSA level within the normal ranges does not mean that prostate cancer is not present.  Also, some men with prostate cancer have normal PSA levels.

How Often Should Men Have a PSA Test?

First, it is important to determine if the man has increased risk for prostate cancer.  This would include if there is a family history of prostate cancer and/or if you are of African decent; both of which would put a man at higher risk for prostate cancer.  It is recommended that PSA testing occur more frequently if you are high risk.

For those not at high risk, the American Urology Association recommends a baseline PSA screening at 40 and 45, followed by annual screenings at age 50.  Establishing a baseline PSA value is a way to track what level is normal, as it varies by individual, and determining if the PSA levels change over time.

Discount PSA testing

What if a PSA Test Result is High?

Some studies indicate that high test results may lead to unnecessary treatment in some patients, but a good clinician can assess the best protocol given the health history of the individual.  Many times, a repeat test will be done to rule out any actions that could elevate the prostate temporarily. It is important to discuss all test results with your physician.  They have the knowledge, family history background and expertise to properly diagnose.

If the physician believes there is cancer, it is important to discuss the various treatments available:  watchful waiting, aggressive treatments, or something in between.  Age, health status, family history and potential side effects should be discussed to determine the best protocol.

Why Should I Get Tested?

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer (besides skin cancer) in men and the second cancer killing illness of men in the US.  The PSA test allows for early detection and is an easy blood test.  A small amount of blood is taken from a vein and tested.  It’s an easy test yet provides potentially life saving information.

A PSA test can help detect certain types of prostate cancer early; this can be critical for some cancers. Elevated PSA results may reveal prostate cancer that could spread to other parts of your body (metastasize), or they may reveal a quick-growing cancer that’s likely to cause other problems.

Early diagnosis typically leads to early treatment before the cancer becomes life threatening or causes serious symptoms.  If a less aggressive treatment can be used early, then there is a reduced risk of side effects such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

Take control of your health and get your PSA blood test now.