Men 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.”
|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||
||No sign at early stage
|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:
- 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).
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reduce meat consumption. Red meats and processed meats have been linked to a greater risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is one of the primary risk factors for lung cancer, and is attributed to several other cancers including prostate cancer.
- Keep your cell phones away from your pants if possible. Cell phones emit radio frequency radiation, and radiation is a carcinogen.
- 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.
- Prevent inflammation and viral or bacterial infections. Inflammation has been linked to many human cancers.
- 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.