Monday, September 26, 2011

A Healthier Lifestyle Can Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

Men over age 65 are at an increased risk of prostate cancer, but that's not the only factor that can increase your risk of the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

senior couple eating dinner
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent prostate cancer.

Because September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we’re putting the spotlight on prevention and early detection of the cancer that will be diagnosed in one in six men in their lifetime, and that will kill one in 34 of those men.

What are the other factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer?:

  • Family history of prostate cancer — If a close relative had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased and annual screenings are suggested for those 45 and older.
  • Obesity — Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to have the disease spread outside of the prostate gland, making it more difficult to treat.
  • African American background — Though it is not clear why, African American men have a greater risk of prostate cancer and a higher chance of dying from the disease than men of other races. 

What Can You Do to Prevent Prostate Cancer?

To decrease your risk of prostate cancer, Bastyr Center for Natural Health urges men — especially those who fit the above risk factors — to embrace a preventive approach to prostate cancer that focuses on a healthy diet, exercise and balanced lifestyle.

Early detection is also important in the fight against prostate cancer, and is as easy as taking a blood test once a year. Again, men who fit the risk factors should take the test annually, as well as all men older than 50.

Another important step in preventing and detecting prostate cancer is to be aware of the symptoms. While prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages, more advanced signs and symptoms can include:

  • Trouble urinating, loss of bladder control
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in your urine and/or semen
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Pain or discomfort in the spine, hips or other bones
  • Weight loss and fatigue

What to Do if You're Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

If you or somebody you know already has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the good news is that there are ways to fight the disease. This winter, Bastyr University is starting a clinical research trial with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and soon will begin recruiting patients to test the effectiveness of medicinal mushrooms on prostate cancer.

To be screened for participation in the free study, call the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center at (425) 602-3311.

In addition, Bastyr Center is uniquely equipped to treat patients in many stages of cancer care through such services as naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and oriental medicine, and nutrition and lifestyle counseling. In concert with conventional cancer therapies, these treatments can be useful in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy and improving the quality of life of people living with cancer.    

To learn more about preventing or treating prostate cancer, call Bastyr Center for Natural Health at (206) 834-4100.

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