Prostate cancer is the number one cancer affecting men in North America. The risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age, lifestyle and family history. While there is nothing you can do about aging, you can make some lifestyle changes that will help with prevention.
For better prostate health, avoid foods that are high in fat, like meats and dairy, that can elevate testosterone levels and can stimulate prostate cell enlargement and growth. Minimize alcohol consumption. Certain foods can also help prevent prostate cancer and slow down the growth.
Increase your intake of soy – use it to replace high fat foods like red meats and cheese. Increase your zinc by eating foods like pumpkin seeds in the shell, nuts, oysters and beans. Selenium is also important and can be found in tuna, eggs, shellfish, wheat germ, herring, kelp, onions, garlic, mushrooms, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and cashews.
Exercise is very important for prostate health. It helps improve circulation and blood flow to the prostate gland. It also helps digestion which includes the removal of waste. Exercising also helps to keep the weight off since obesity leads to an increased risk. Be sure to get enough sleep as well. It helps with stress levels and allows the body to repair itself.
Early screening and detection is crucial, since success rates are very high when the cancer is in the early stages and confined to the prostate. Men over 50 should get annual screenings. While prostate cancer in men younger than 50 is rare, men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin screening at age 40.
For men that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, they should speak to their urologists to consider treatment options. There are the traditional options like surgery and radiation, which can have unfortunate side effects including incontinence and impotency. There are also alternative treatments including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, cryotherapy, brachytherapy and high intensity focused ultrasound or HIFU.
HIFU is one of the newer prostate cancer treatments where high intensity focused ultrasound is used to destroy cancer tumors with pinpoint accuracy. The procedure is non-invasive and non-surgical, using computerized imaging and controlled by specially trained urological surgeons. The procedure takes approximately 2-2.5 hours and recovery time is much faster than with other forms of treatment. The success rate is similar to traditional treatment methods, like surgery and radiation, but with fewer side effects.
The procedure began in Europe, and there are now 10 year published results showing the high success rates. In North America, the procedure is not available in the U.S., but was approved in Canada in 2003. The first clinic to open in North America was the Maple Leaf HIFU clinic in Toronto. They have performed over 700 treatments – more than any other North American clinic. They are staffed by top urologists who prefer this less invasive option because of the positive outcome with fewer side effects. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, speak to your urologist about HIFU and other treatment options, and do your own research online.