Get more: Men who have 21 or more orgasms a month are 30 per cent less likely to get prostate cancer, a Journal of the American Medical Association study says.  *File photo
Get more: Men who have 21 or more orgasms a month are 30 per cent less likely to get prostate cancer, a Journal of the American Medical Association study says. *File photo

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), and when diagnosed early can be treated successfully. 

Until research can find a cure, the focus must be on prevention and the progression of prostate cancer by making early diagnosis a priority. 

By screening men for prostate cancer with a PSA (blood test) and a DRE (digital rectal exam), it is possible to detect early, tiny, or even microscopic cancers that are confined to the prostate gland. Earlier detection of cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment. 

Guidelines for the early detection of cancer

Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. 

If you are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, you should have this conversation with a doctor starting at age 40. If men choose to be tested, they should have the PSA (blood test) with or without a DRE (digital rectal exam). How often they are tested will depend on the PSA level and the advice of their doctor. 

Regular check-ups — it is recommended that men aged 20 and older receive periodic health exams including discussions with your physician regarding potential risk factors for prostate cancer.

Preventing prostate cancer

Maria Masters recently wrote an article for Men’s Health Cancer Guide which summarized what researchers say can help prevent prostate cancer:

Drink More Coffee — Regular, decaf, half-caf, whatever — it’s all good, say Harvard researchers. They found that men who drank six or more cups of regular or decaf coffee were 59 percent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than those who eschewed the brew. 

More research is needed to determine what’s in java that might make it beneficial, says study author Kathryn Wilson, Ph.D.  (added note: too much caffeine can trigger heart conditions and contribute to lack of sleep)

Give Your Gland a Regular Workout — A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed data on 29,342 men and found that guys who had 21 or more orgasms a month were about 30 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who racked up only four to seven a month. A possible explanation is...wait, who cares? Tell your wife it is doctor’s orders. 

See Red, Eat Red — For the 1,324th time, eat more cooked tomato products to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. This quirky link was first noticed in the 1990s by Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., and subsequent studies have confirmed the power of edible red. Credit lycopene, a pigment in tomatoes that’s more potent after they’re cooked. Aim for two-plus servings a week.

Move It — Exercise reduces the risk of fatal forms of prostate cancer by 41 percent. What’s more, among survivors of prostate cancer, those who exercised vigorously (playing tennis, running, swimming, or biking) for five hours a week had a 56 percent lower risk of death from the disease. “More activity is more protective,” says lead researcher Stacey A. Kenfield, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Top Off Your Oil — Fish don’t have prostates — but if they did, we’re betting they wouldn’t get prostate cancer. In studies on lab animals, the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA in fish oil inhibited tumors. Plus, Harvard researchers found that men who ate fish three times a week reduced their risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 25 percent. 

Ditch the Doughnuts — Men with the highest blood levels of trans fats have more than twice the prostate-cancer risk of men with the lowest levels. Trans-fatty acids increase inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which may play a role in prostate cancer. Avoid commercially baked doughnuts and cookies, as well as packaged baked goods containing hydrogenated oil. 

For more information on Prostate Cancer and Men’s Health Programmes in Bermuda visit www.chc.bm.