Category Archives: Prostate Cancer Prevention

Men’s Health Month Ends BUT Men’s Health Challenges Persist

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Happy father and son isolated on white backgroundA lot of men are “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of guys and believe they can fix anything by themselves. This is true many times in life. But when it comes to health conditions, it could be a dangerous misconception.

Today, I’m going to highlight how men’s masculinity or “toughness” and emotional restraint may impede them from seeking medical or professional help, consequently having a negative or even grave effect on their health.

The Cover-Ups & Attitude

Sometimes, those “annoying” symptoms (e.g., snoring, bad breath, enlarged prostate, and unexplained weight gain or loss) show up and even persist; but a lot of guys would rather tough it out or put off a visit to the doctor with various excuses. I get that. But do you know – a quiet health crisis may be underway?

How about in the workplace? Masculinity may influence workplace health and safety particularly in male-dominated skilled trades as injured workers return to work too early and “tough” workers then reinforce dominant masculine norms. Results of a joint study from the University of Toronto showed, “A desire to be viewed as a strong, responsible, resilient worker may intersect with concerns about job loss, to influence participants’ decisions to not report safety issues and workplace accidents, to not disclose post-injury work challenges, and to not request workplace supports” (Stergiou-Kita et al., Work; 2016). Certainly, institutional identification and practices play a role too.

How about social or psychosocial beliefs? Some folks believe that cancer will inevitably lead to death (so-called cancer fatalism). A study by Mitchell et al. (Res. Aging; 2016) reported that among 1,666 African American males enrolled in Medicare, 76.5% felt helpless, 44.2% confused, and 40.7% pessimistic about the ability to prevent cancer. Despite a couple of limitations, the study reveals a challenging factor for cancer prevention and screening detection. Important to note, although African American males remain at greatest risk for dying from prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers compared to men of other races, early detection and treatment save lives.

The Facts & Evidence

Men are more vulnerable to various disorders at all ages across the lifespan. Also, men’s average life expectancy stays largely behind that of women’s. Primary physical health risks that are leading causes of death or are burdens for men include cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), cancer (especially prostate and lung cancer), diabetes, depression, and suicide. Fortunately, many of the top causes of death are preventable and can be treated, if found early.

Finally, here is a list of Strategic Actions you or your loved ones can take for men’s health:

  • Check out critical numbers such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar; keep them in normal ranges.
  • Schedule recommended screenings for prostate and colon cancer, and a routine testicle exam.
  • Schedule a routine medical care or physical examination.
  • Ladies, accompany your man to his doctor visit. This can be a great help with eliminating potential communication barrier(s) to disclosing a real problem or filling in a missing note.
  • Keep mentally active; for example, take new classes, play brain games, or learn something new.
  • Forge a close relationship with a circle of friends.
  • Never ignore some seemingly common symptoms such as snoring, bad breath, and enlarged prostate. Take note of it. If the problem persists, consult your physician to rule out any medical conditions.
  • Consult professional help if you (or your man) have symptoms of depression.

In summary, to prevent a quiet health crisis in men, we all need to step in by advancing men’s mental health, strengthening men’s workplace safety, and caring about men’s overall well-being, in addition to monitoring men’s physical health.

Saving His life—men’s lives—is one of the best things to do throughout the year!

Image credit: www.communitycarechemist.com.au/category/mens-health

Old Men’s and Young Men’s Cancer – How to Protect Yourself?

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Men-s Cancer in Puzzle_CPDMen may experience something wrong or annoying physically but hate to bring it up in conversation. This is understandable, but could potentially be gravely risky in regard to cancer. Stick with me for a few seconds, and I’ll explain why, along with a list of lifestyle-modifying and life-saving strategies to protect you from cancers that strike old men and young men.

First, let me briefly outline the difference between “young men’s cancer” and “old men’s cancer.”

 

Testicular cancer

Prostate cancer

Age 15 – 35 50+
Location Outside body, inside the scrotum Inside body, under the bladder
Risk factors Race/ethnicity, HIV infection, uncorrected or undescended testicles, injury to scrotum, family history Family history, genetics, race/ethnicity, hormones, smoking, obesity, inflammation, occupation
Signs or Symptoms
  • A lump in either testicle
  • An enlarged testicle or swollen scrotum
  • Discomfort or heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain in the abdomen, groin area, or lower back
No sign at early stage

  • Change in urinating frequency, urgency, or flow; blood in the urine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain in the hips or lower back
Prognosis Malignant, rare, but can be cured if detected early Common, can very often be treated successfully

So, how can men be vigilant about their cancer risks? If you are a man, here are 20 things you can do:

  1. Get screened for prostate cancer. Men over 50 should consult their doctors for screening, especially those having a family history of the disease. The screenings may include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA).
  2. Detect testicular cancer. Perform testicle self-examination monthly and have a doctor examine annually. See instructions for testicular self-examination at http://www.webmd.boots.com/men/guide/tescticular-self-examination
  3. Take a blood test for HIV antibodies. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes AIDS, and HIV-infected individuals can remain symptomless for years. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, consult your physician. The good news is, new drugs are available to treat HIV infection effectively.
  4. Move your body. Physical activity is a key to preventing prostate cancer. Some research evidence indicates that men who are more physically active have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer. Do whatever works for you—whether that’s exercising regularly or getting physically active in various ways throughout the day. And keep it fun by alternating your routine, workout format, or partners.  More activity is more protective.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight and obesity are among modifiable risk factors for cancer. Obesity is strongly linked to diabetes; one in three Americans has diabetes and these folks often don’t even know they have it. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a wide spectrum of health problems from heart disease and stroke to kidney, eye, and nerve damage.
  6. Have RED in your diet. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Especially, cooked and processed tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene.
  7. Eat more GREEN. Broccoli is high in cancer-fighting agents (i.e., sulforaphane and isothiocyanates). Regularly eating broccoli may lower your risk of prostate cancer. Other greens such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and mustard greens are vegetables rich in indoles, sulfoxide, and 5-methyl-methionine, all of which have potent anticancer effects.
  8. Consume more fish. Omega-3, found in certain fish including salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and trout, can help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.
  9. Consider biological selenium (not synthetic or supplement). Selenium, a naturally occurring chemical, may help you fight prostate cancer, though the evidence is non-conclusive. However, you’ll never go wrong with plant-based foods (vegetables, grains, etc.), fish, nuts, wheat germ, and Brewer’s yeast, which all contain selenium.
  10. Reduce meat consumption. Red meats and processed meats have been linked to a greater risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
  11. Avoid deep-fried foods. High-heat cooking (e.g., deep-frying or grilling) generates potential carcinogens. In particular, it produces heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in animal meats, and so does overcooking meat. One study revealed that frequent consumption (once a week or more) of certain fried foods including French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, and doughnuts was associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer.
  12. Be wary about supplements. There is no clear evidence that any vitamin or herb supplements prevent testicular or prostate cancer. Plus what’s in a supplement is not all regulated.
  13. Drink more water or tea. Water helps get rid of toxins, bacteria and waste in the body. Green and black tea contain potent antioxidants and anticancer agents such as polyphenols.
  14. Drink coffee daily. Coffee provides a beneficial effect for fight cancer, according to Harvard researchers. They found that men who drank six or more cups of regular or decaf coffee were 59% less likely to develop advance prostate cancer than those who eschewed the brew.
  15. Listen to your body. If you experience pain in your groin area or lower back, a change in urination (frequency, urgency, or pressure), or difficulty urinating, or if you see blood in your urine or semen, talk to your doctor. Never ignore those warning signs.
  16. Quit smoking. Smoking is one of the primary risk factors for lung cancer, and is attributed to several other cancers including prostate cancer.
  17. Keep your cell phones away from your pants if possible. Cell phones emit radio frequency radiation, and radiation is a carcinogen.
  18. Enjoy fun for life. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to come with boredom. You can exercise, have sex, and watch TV too as long as it’s not too much. Also, instead of chips and popcorn with your TV watching, eat a big plate of fresh veggies and fruits.
  19. Prevent inflammation and viral or bacterial infections. Inflammation has been linked to many human cancers.
  20. Treat an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). There are effective drugs available, so consult a doctor.

Finally, ladies, let’s encourage the men in our lives to take actions for a healthy lifestyle and cancer protection.

 

Image credit: by Ambrozjo and CancerPreventionDaily.com/

How to Protect You from Prostate Cancer

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Imagine how this may apply to you — about 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and estimated about 29,720 men will die of prostate cancer in 2013 (statistics from American Cancer Society). It’s quite somber. I’m here to help you stay away from it, and today I provide top 10 ways to prevent prostate cancer.

1.      Watch your PSA for early detection, esp. at age 40-75, or having a family history or being an African-American. Age is a major risk factor of prostate cancer – as you’re aging, the risk of prostate cancer increases.
2.      Keep a healthy, balanced diet, which is in your control. Avoid SAD (Standard American Diet) leading to imbalance of nutrients and hormones, and go for PAD (Promising Anti-cancer Diet). Learn more on How to Replace SAD with PAD for Cancer Prevention.
3.      Stay physically active.  Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to cancer risks.
4.      Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity itself may not increase the risk of prostate cancer; however, it has been linked with a higher risk of getting a more aggressive type of prostate cancer.
5.      Avoid toxic chemicals and carcinogens from all sources, such as synthetic household cleaners, artificial sweeteners, processed food products, etc.
6.      Steer clear of toxic metals in your body, such as mercury, aluminum, lead, and other heavy metals, which are deep roots for fatigue and illnesses. Unfortunately overlooked by many folks, drinking water could be a main source. Tap water may not be safe to drink because of hundreds, if not thousands, of chemicals, metals and contaminants.  Again in reality, it makes up 40% of bottled water. That’s why drinking filtered water is critically important.
7.      Avoid or minimize your exposure to environmental pollutants.
8.      Limit radiation exposure (except necessary therapy), e.g. CAT scan (containing 50% more radiation than conventional X-ray), some mobile phones and radon. Radiation is a known carcinogen.
9.      Quit smoking and limit alcohol. Research supports that lifetime alcohol consumption may pose an increased risk of prostate cancer.
10.  Ensure enough sleep. Recent studies show that sleep loss and circadian disruption may have a potential impact on prostate cancer risk. Furthermore, shift work resulting in disruption of circadian rhythm is a probable human carcinogen, according to IARC (The International Agency for Research on Cancer of World Health Organization). So, dream sweet dreams.

Image credits: By cienpies and Weight Management NYC