Prostate cancer is a cancer form unique to men. It is the most common malignancy for men in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death from cancer (only surpassed by lung cancer, although rates are decreasing). In 2009 there were an estimates 192,280 new cases, 27,360 deaths. The prostate is an organ found at the base of the bladder. It helps to control urination, but it’s main function is to produce substances for semen (like minerals and sugars). As a young man it is the size of a walnut, but grows larger during aging. The cancer usually comes from a malignant tumor. The tumor usually grows slowly and stays in the gland for years. As it advances it can spread to the liver, lungs, and bones. Men can have it for several years without having any symptoms. Caucasians have a 17.6% risk and African Americans have a 20.6% risk. The risk of getting prostate cancer only increases with age, too. Over 80% of the men diagnosed are over 65. Obesity increases the risk of more aggressive, larger prostate cancer. This is another reason why being in a state of wellness is so important. What you eat and do now can help prevent disease later. What can you eat now to help?
- Selenium rich foods like fish, shellfish, and garlic. They may slow tumor growth because of an increase in immune activity and suppresses the development of blood vessels in cancer tumors.
- Lycopene foods like tomatoes (eat with olive oil and avocado to increase absorption). It a strong antioxidant and has specific anti-cancer properties.
- Cruciferous vegetables with sulforaphane like Brussels sprouts (the highest concentration), broccoli, cabbage, beets, and artichokes. Sulforaphane activates the production of antioxidants to reduce inflammation, remove carcinogens, and fix oxidative damage.
- Polyphenols found in cranberries are a cancer-preventing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial.
- Anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, onion, berries, pumpkin seeds, and apples are great for prostate health.