Prostate cancer primarily affects men over 50, influenced by genetics and lifestyle. Early detection through screening and adopting a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise are vital for prevention and management.
Understanding the Risks
Prostate cancer is a serious health concern for men, especially those over the age of 50. Understanding the risk factors, adopting a proactive lifestyle, and making informed choices can play a crucial role in preventing and managing this disease. Read on to discover who is at risk, why early screening is essential, and how embracing a proactive approach can lead to better health.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a tiny gland below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells form and grow in the prostate gland. Generally, it is a slow growing cancer, but some types of prostate cancer are more aggressive than others and can spread quickly if they are not treated. Some men do not have any symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer. Later, signs that you have prostate cancer can include urinating more often than usual, especially at night, finding it difficult to start or stop urinating, pain or a burning sensation while urinating or ejaculating, and blood in the urine or semen.
Understanding the risk factors
Prostate cancer mostly affects men over 50, which makes age one of the most critical risk factors. Of course, there are other factors that play a role and mean you are at greater risk – genetics, for example, or having a family history of the disease. Added to this, black African men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men from other racial backgrounds. These risk factors are clearly beyond our control, but there are proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk and make sure you detect any potential problems early.
Embrace a proactive lifestyle
- Eat a balanced diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can provide essential nutrients that promote prostate health. Foods high in antioxidants, like tomatoes, may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- Exercise regularly. Staying physically active not only keeps your weight under control but also supports your overall health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is linked to a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Stopping smoking can significantly lower this risk.
- Limit alcohol intake. Excessive drinking of alcohol may increase your risk of prostate cancer. The key is moderation – it is recommended that you limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
Early screening saves lives
Discovering the issue early is critical in managing prostate cancer. Common screening methods include a blood test and a digital rectal exam. These tests are not foolproof, but they can help detect prostate cancer in its early stages, which means it will be easier to treat and manage.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) recommends that black men and men with other risk factors get screened from the age of 40 and that other men start their screening at the age of 45. It’s important to speak honestly and openly with your Occupational Health Practitioner or clinic. Taking control of your health is the first step towards a brighter, cancer-free future.
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