Statistics indicate that about 1,000 men are diagnosed of prostate cancer every year in Ghana, and an estimated of 800 die of the disease annually.
During the early stages of prostate cancer there are usually no symptoms. Most men at this stage find out they have prostate cancer after a routine check up or blood test. When symptoms do exist, they are usually one or more of the following: \
1. The patient urinates more often
2. The patient gets up at night more often to urinate
3. He may find it hard to start urinating
4. He may find it hard to keep urinating once he has started
5. There may be blood in the urine
6. Urination might be painful
7. Ejaculation may be painful (less common)
8. Achieving or maintaining an erection may be difficult (less common).
If the prostate cancer is advanced the following symptoms are also possible:
1. Bone pain, often in the spine (vertebrae), pelvis, or ribs
2. The proximal part of the femur can be painful.
3. Leg weakness (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)
4. Urinary incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)
Fecal incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord).
Causes of prostate cancerNobody is really sure of what the specific causes are. There are so many possible factors, including age, race, lifestyle, medications, and genetics, to name a few.
Age is considered as the primary risk factor. The older a man is, the higher is his risk. Prostate cancer is rare among men under the age of 45, but much more common after the age of 50.
Statistics indicate that genetics is definitely a factor in prostate cancer risk. It is more common among certain racial groups - in the USA prostate cancer is significantly more common and also more deadly among Afro-Americans than White-Americans. A man has a much higher risk of developing cancer if his identical twin has it. A man whose brother or father had/had prostate cancer runs twice the risk of developing it, compared to other men.
Studies indicate that the two faulty genes - BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 - which are important risk factors for breast cancer and ovarian cancer, have also been implicated in prostate cancer risk.
In a study scientists found seven new sites in the human genome that are linked to men's risk of developing prostate cancer.
Faulty BRCA2 gene linked to aggressive form of prostate cancer - researchers at the The Institute of Cancer Research, UK, reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (April 2013 issue) that men who have inherited the faulty BRCA2 gene are more likely to have the faster-spreading type of prostate cancer. The scientists say these men should receive treatment immediately after diagnosis with surgery or radiation therapy, rather than receive the "watchful waiting" approach.
Senior author Ros Eeles wrote that experts have already known that those with the faulty BRCA2 gene have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. This is the first large study to demonstrate that the faulty gene is also linked to a faster spread of the disease and poorer survival.
This new discovery will make some health authorities around the world rethink their policies and procedures. In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service offers the same prostate cancer treatment for both carriers and non-carriers of the faulty BRCA2 gene.
Prof. Eeles said "It must make sense to start offering affected men immediate surgery or radiotherapy, even for early-stage cases that would otherwise be classified as low-risk. We won't be able to tell for certain that earlier treatment can benefit men with inherited cancer genes until we've tested it in a clinical trial, but the hope is that our study will ultimately save lives by directing treatment at those who most need it."
fruits and vegetables
A review of diets indicated that the Mediterranean diet may reduce a person's chances of developing prostate cancer. Another study indicates that soy, selenium and green tea, offer additional possibilities for disease prevention - however, a more recent study indicated that combination therapy of vitamin E, selenium and soy does not prevent the progression from high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) to prostate cancer. A diet high in vegetable consumption was found in a study to be beneficial.
A US pilot study on men with low risk prostate cancer found that following an intensive healthy diet and lifestyle regime focusing on low meat and high vegetable and fruit intake, regular exercise, yoga stretching, meditation and support group participation, can alter the way that genes behave and change the progress of cancer, for instance by switching on tumor killers and turning down tumor promoters.
Other studies have indicated that lack of vitamin D, a diet high in red meat may raise a person's chances of developing prostate cancer.
A study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research suggests vitamin D deficiency may predict aggressive prostate cancer.
Some studies say there might be a link between the daily use of anti-inflammatory medicines and prostate cancer risk. A study found that statins, which are used to lower cholesterol levels, may lower a person's risk of developing prostate cancer.
A study found a clear link between obesity and raised prostate cancer risk, as well as a higher risk of metastasis and death among obese people who develop prostate cancer.
6. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):
Men who have had gonorrhea have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer, according to research from the University of Michigan Health System.
7. Agent Orange:
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange have a 48% higher risk of prostate cancer recurrence following surgery than their unexposed peers, and when the disease comes back, it seems more aggressive, researchers say. Another study found that Vietnam War veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange have significantly increased risks of prostate cancer and even greater risks of getting the most aggressive form of the disease as compared to those who were not exposed.
Prevention1. Less red meat, saturated fat.
2. High fibre, fruit, vegetables, soy products (phytoestrogens).
3. Increased Omega 3 fatty acids- Marine fish (may reduce metastatic prostate cancer by up to 26%) .
4. Lycopene - Found in tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes such as prepared sauce may reduce prostate cancer by 30-40% .
5. Biochanin A - Red Clover inhibits prostate cell growth.
6. Selenium- deficiency in selenium occasionally caused by an additional stress such as mercury toxicity or Vitamin E deficiency. Selenium as a preventative measure may decrease chances of prostate cancer by 63%.
7. Green Tea- Green tea may block prostate cancer cell growth and interaction and help post-surgery reduction shown in post-operative serum levels.
8. Turmeric- Decreases cancer cell proliferation, increases cancer cell death and protects organs during chemotherapy.
9. Vitamin D3- May have anti-cancer effects. Studies show that men in areas of low sun exposure have a greater incidence of prostate cancer.
10. Vitamin E- Studies show a 32% drop in prostate cancer and 41% lower death rate in men taking a Vitamin E supplement.
11. Zinc- Essential for proper prostate gland health. Shown to reduce chance of prostate carcinogenesis.
12. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Rapens)- Fewer side-effects and better result than drugs such as finesteride.
13. Nettle (Urtica Dioica)- Studies show a modest decrease in prostate size after taking supplement.
14. HorseTail (Equisetum)- When combined with Saw Palmetto, reduces symptoms in non-cancerous prostate hypertrophy.
15. Pomegranate Juice- Shown to reduce PSA levels, decrease cancer cell proliferation, increase cancer cell death.