Prostate cancer is one of the health concerns many men are wary of when they hit their senior years. And they can often be confused as to how to deal with it. Thus, providers of hospice care in California give advice aimed at helping seniors protect themselves from prostate cancer.
Understanding Prostate Cancer
Before we talk about prostate cancer, we need to know what the prostate is. It is a ping pong ball-sized organ that sits between the penis and the bladder. The prostate may be an inconspicuous organ, but it has various vital functions.
- Helps semen production: The gland produces prostatic fluid, which helps in the healthy delivery of sperm cells in the semen.
- Closes the urethra during ejaculation: This allows the semen to pass through the urethra during ejaculation.
- Helps in hormone metabolism: The prostate releases enzymes that help metabolize the hormone testosterone into other chemicals used by the body.
Because of these functions, any issue with the prostate can significantly impact men’s daily lives. Because of that, medical professionals advise that they take good care of the organ.
The Causes Of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer that affects older males, following skin cancer. Statistics reveal that 1 in every 8 men is likely to develop the disease. The diagnosis usually happens when they reach 66 years old.
Like other forms of cancer, prostate cancer starts when mutations in your DNA cause your cells to multiply uncontrollably. The experts are still not sure what can trigger these mutations. But they have several possible explanations.
One is due to diet. A fatty diet causes your body to produce more testosterone. Abnormally high levels of the hormone can potentially lead to the activation of dormant cancer cells. That can also influence the initial spread of the disease.
Another theory is exposure to cadmium can trigger the mutations. The metal is highly toxic and is known to cause other types of cancer like lung, kidney, and pancreatic cancer. People working in various industrial processes that use the metal are highly vulnerable to the disease. These include wielders, rubber workers, and battery manufacturers.
The Risk Factors
Medical professionals have also identified the various factors that can increase the risk for prostate cancer. The list includes:
- Age: The condition can become more probably when you reach 50
- Family history: If some of your family members have already been diagnosed with the disease, you can become more susceptible to it.
- Ethnicity: Studies show that African Americans are at a greater risk of prostate cancer than other ethnic groups. Cases can also be more aggressive.
- Obesity: In people who are obese, cancer might be more aggressive. It is also more likely to return after initial treatment.
If you have any of these risk factors, your doctors will advise you to have a screening for the diseases. If it does turn out negative, you would still want to follow the safety procedures to protect yourself.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
People who might have prostate cancer exhibit the general symptoms that many patients have, such as unexplained weight loss. Specific symptoms would potentially point to the condition.
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Frequent urination, particularly at night
- Difficulty in emptying your bladder completely
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pain in the hips, back, or pelvis that doesn’t go away
- Painful ejaculation
- Discomfort when sitting due to an enlarged prostate
- Painful ejaculations.
- Onset of erectile dysfunction
Once you see a combination of these symptoms, immediately seek advice from your doctor. Some of these may also indicate other conditions. Thus, you would want to undergo thorough testing to get the proper diagnosis.
Testing And Diagnosis
Doctors can use any of the following methods to test for possible prostate cancer symptoms.
- Prostate-specific antigen test: Doctors determine prostate-specific antigen levels in your cells. They then compare it to what a healthy prostate should have.
- Digital Rectal Exam: The doctor inserts a finger into your rectum to feel for bumps or hard areas around your prostate.
- Imaging tests: Doctors might request an MRI or TRUS scan of your prostate for further examinations.
Of the three, doctors do the PSA test first. Note that there are factors that can affect the result of the test. Based on their initial assessment, doctors might then request other tests. They might also ask for a biopsy for further confirmation.
Protecting Yourself From Prostate Cancer Symptoms
With how common prostate cancer is, you want to protect yourself from it. While there is no sure way to prevent the disease, there are things you can do to lower your risk.
Choosing The Right Diet
As mentioned above, a fatty diet can potentially trigger the growth of previously dormant cancer cells. You would want to move your diet away from this type of food. These include meats, oils, and dairy products. One way to do this is getting low-fat varieties of such food, such as lean meat.
Note that limiting fatty food also helps you control your weight. It has a lot more benefits besides helping your fight against prostate cancer. The move also reduces the risk of heart ailments that can create more complications.
On the other hand, you should increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. In particular, eat more red fruits and veggies like watermelons, tomatoes, and grapefruit. These contain large amounts of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant shown to reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Nutrition And Diet For Seniors
Being More Active
You are already well aware of the health benefits that regular exercise provides. It is an effective way for you to maintain a healthy weight. That is important, as it lessens the pressure on your prostate. Regular exercise also boosts your immune system for fighting off infection.
If you have been sedentary for a while, you should start slow here. Go with simple exercises that you ca4n readily do at home. Once you’re used to physical activity, you can start incorporating more advanced routines.
Vitamins and Medication
Taking supplements will help you get the right amount of vitamins for strengthening your body. In particular, you might need more vitamin D. This vitamin has antioxidant properties that help protect you against various illnesses. Some studies have also shown that it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by half.
On the other hand, some medications can help manage prostate issues. One of these is a class of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Doctors use these to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a non-cancerous growth of the organ. Studies show that it can reduce cancer risk by 25%.
Best Hospice Care In California To Help You Cope With Prostate Cancer
Having prostate cancer symptoms can be a worrying thought for many. But with the right help, you can protect yourself from it. Amavi’s hospice care services will provide you with comprehensive support, ranging from nutritional to medical care. Sign up today and we will give you all the care you need