Men’s Health: The Cancer in the Donut

Prostate Cancer
Rahman Mohamed

So Movember’s has drawn to a close.  And women are happy to learn that their men are clean shaven once more.  But just because Movember is over, does it mean they should stop worrying about their health?

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer is a disease that arises from tumours gone viral.  A tumour is simply cells reproducing uncontrollably.  If the tumour is benign (non-cancerous) it stays in one place in the body, as a big lump, and isn’t a threat.  But malignant (cancerous) tumours spread out to other parts of the body, invade nearby tissues and organs, and can become life-threatening.

In other words, a benign tumour is a bunch of guys (more guys than there is seating room for) watching a Grey Cup game, caught in the moment, cheering for the team.

Then, when the game ends (whether or not their team wins or loses) the guys go malignant and invade the nearby kitchen searching for doughnuts and other post-game snacks, later moving on to the nearby grocery where they meet their friends and soon taking over the neighbourhood.  (Not all guys and tumours go malignant).

One of the causes Movember works for is raising awareness for Prostate cancer.  According to Prostate Cancer Canada it’s the most common cancer to hit men; 1 in 7 will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

The prostate is a gland that produces fluid to protect and enrich sperm; it’s doughnut shaped, located below the bladder, in front of the bowel.

Risk factors for include gender (only guys are hit), age (the older you are the more likely your lower doughnut will expand), family history, ethnicity, and lifestyle.

Symptoms include urinal trouble, blood in urine or semen, trouble with erection, reduced ability to get an erection and painful ejaculation.

It can be embarrassing to talk about these things.  Prostate Cancer can often go diagnosed.

There are ways to prevent it.  In a recent study carried out by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer it was found that lifestyle changes including diet can help prevent prostate cancer.  On June 30 Medical News Today reported that “eating fewer than 500 grams of red meat per week or fewer than 125 total kilocalories per 100 grams of food per day greatly reduced the risk of aggressive tumors among the study subjects”; Lenore Arab, PhD, lead researcher commented saying “most men are at risk of prostate cancer, but it is the level of aggressiveness of disease that is most clinically relevant. These findings suggest that even men with prostate cancer can take control of their disease and moderate its aggressiveness through diet and lifestyle choices.”

Lifestyle changes include

  • Becoming fit and physically active for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Avoiding sugary drinks
  • Limiting consumption of energy-dense foods
  • Eating a greater variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Less red meat and avoiding processed meat
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Less sodium (salt)

With V8 and celery instead of beer, nachos, and steak, and doing jumping jacks during half time at a Grey Cup game, it’s possible the tumour might remain benign.

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