Prostate cancer kills 220,000 men annually. Don't be one of them
Finding time to get to the doctor can be difficult at the best of times, and it's even tougher when you're constantly flying away from home for work. Here, the corporate health experts at Kinetic Health offer some tips for time-poor miners out there who need to remain vigilant about fighting prostate cancer...
Prostate cancer is a cancer of the prostate gland. This is a small walnut-shaped gland that is situated below a man's bladder, above the base of the penis, between the pubic bone and rectum. The prostate's primary function is to produce seminal fluid that nourishes the sperm and aids fertility. Prostate cancer is a condition in which some of the cells of the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than a normal prostate, causing swelling or a tumour.
Globally, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. It causes more than 220,000 deaths per year, with three quarters of all cases being in men 65 years or older.
No one knows exactly what causes prostate cancer, but research suggests that age, race, genetics, hormones, diet and environment are risk factors.
Here are the most common symptoms:
- Passing urine more frequently
- Sudden urgent need to urinate
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak urine flow and dribbling
- Discomfort when urinating
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Dull pain in lower pelvic area
- Persistent bone pain
If you're having difficulties with urination you should see your doctor. Having "waterworks" symptoms does not automatically mean you have prostate cancer, but it can be a symptom of prostate-related problems.
Prostate cancer often produces no symptoms
The first indication of a problem may come during a screening test. There are currently two tests available for prostate cancer:
- The Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) which involves the doctor inserting a gloved finger in the anus.
- The Prostate Specific Antigen blood test (PSA) which looks for the presence in the blood of a protein produced specifically by prostate cells.
It is a good idea to at least have the PSA test, but preferably both tests about every two years from age 50 onwards, or as advised by your doctor. If you have a family history of prostate cancer occurring in close relative then you should consider having the test annually from age 40.
So how can you prevent it?
- Increase your daily intake of fruit and vegetables, especially tomatoes which are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant, which is a natural cancer-fighter.
- The minerals zinc and selenium are important for prostate health.
- High-fat diets have been linked to prostate cancer.
- Soy products may slow down the progression of the disease.
- Exercise helps to strengthen your immunity, reduces your risk of cancer, and helps prevent obesity which is another risk factor.
And for other ideas from a top doctor who beat prostate cancer, check out Lainie Anderson's column on superfoods.
Got a health and fitness question? click here.
Borne of the merger of Gemini Medical Services and Prime Health Group, Kinetic Health boasts almost 50 years of combined experience in corporate medicine. With a national network of wholly owned medical clinics, a vast array of occupational health services, and the expertise and capacity to deliver in remote as well as metropolitan locations, Kinetic Health are the "Go To People" for corporate and community healthcare. Proudly Australian, their understanding of customer needs ensures they are proactive and decisive in their approach to corporate medicine. They're passionate about the health of your business – and about the people within it. They deliver healthcare to large and small corporate and community groups through for key service offerings: Safety & Training; Health & Wellness; Onsite Medicals; and Clinical Services. For more information visit www.kinetichealth.com.au or call 1300 793 004.