What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut. It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra—the narrow tube that runs the length of the penis and carries both urine and semen out of the body—runs directly through the prostate. Although the prostate is not essential for life, it affects reproduction.
The term “cancer” refers to a condition in which cells accumulate uncontrollably—the ability to regulate cell growth or death is lost. So, instead of dying as they should, prostate cancer cells live longer than normal cells, and form masses of abnormal cells known as tumours. Primary tumours are the original tumours; secondary tumours occur if the original cancer spreads to other locations.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 30,000 men diagnosed annually. Around 10,000 men die from it every year, making it the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung cancer.
For reasons yet unknown, prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean and African descent. Black men are three times more likely to develop this disease than White men. Researchers are looking into the reason why the disease is higher among Black men, but diet and genes are thought to play an important role.
Not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. For some, early signs of the disease are detected by a doctor during a check-up. Some men, however, do experience changes in urinary or sexual functions, which might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These symptoms include:
- a need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- weak or interrupted flow of urine
- painful or burning urination
- difficulty in having an erection
- painful ejaculation
- blood in urine or semen
- frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
It is strongly advised to consult with your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Because these symptoms could also indicate some other diseases, such as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or prostatitis, a thorough check would need to be carried out to determine the underlying cause.
Although significant progress has been made through studies of prostate cancer – and some clear findings show that factors such age, genetics, ethnicity, diet, and environment have a strong link to the disease – there is still not one conclusion to how we can prevent prostate cancer. There are, however, some preventive measures which could help delay the onset of the disease or reduce the risk. These include:
- following a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods, and exercising regularly
- reducing excess fat and maintaining a healthy weight
- eating oily fish – evidence from several studies shows that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have “good fats”, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
- not smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation (if at all)
- reducing stress in your life
- regular check-up at your doctor
Finally, I would like to add to the above list: prayer. I was reminded of the power of prayer recently at a women’s breakfast meeting I attended. The guest speaker spoke of prayer and healing. She reminded the audience that prayer should be our first protocol for anything in our lives – including our health. Prayer gives us direct access to a God who knows all things and is able to do all things; therefore it should be our first stop as we face whatever mountain/challenge is before us. Pray to God, seek medical advice and get the treatments.
In Hosea 6:4, it says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. God expects us to play an active role in taking responsibility for our health. Let us get knowledge, share the knowledge and act wisely on the knowledge. Let us begin now.
YOGURTS ARE HEALTHY FOR YOU
Yogurts can be a healthy option, but you need to be aware of the sweeteners and the other ingredients added to them, especially those labelled as low fat or fat–free. Most flavoured yogurts contain things like sugar, cream, corn starch, gelatine, aspartame and sucralose. Your best option – when it comes to choosing yogurt – is plain. If, then, you fancy some flavour added to it, you have more control over what you put into it. Freshly chopped fruits can transform your yogurt into a tasty healthy snack; adding some walnuts can also add taste, or a little drizzle of honey for those of you with a sweet tooth. Enjoy!
MOVE TO THE BEAT
Tired of your same old workouts? In need of a workout makeover? Then why not try some dancing? Yes, you heard right. Dancing! Studies show that moving your body to some music for 20 minutes at least three times a week can improve your overall health. Not only does dancing help burn some calories, it helps tone your muscles, strengthen your bones, improve circulation, improve your mood and, best thing of all, it’s totally free. You don’t have to join a dance class, nor do you have to be a professional dancer. All you need is a little space to move your body and some great music. Happy dancing!!!