Maintaining both a healthy body & mind is essential for taking good care of oneself. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to focus on the men in our lives and support good health, disease prevention and routine screening. Like many diseases, those affecting men specifically require heightened public awareness.
The prostate is a gland located just below the bladder providing ejaculatory fluid to accompany sperm on their journey. When cancerous cells have begun taking over the prostate, the cells begin to lose control of their growth & function. As the cancer spreads, the prostate as a whole begins to also lose control of its function. Symptoms may include difficulty or pain urinating or blood in the urine, but these symptoms are not specific to prostate cancer alone.
Most men with cancerous cells in their prostate can live for 10, 20 or even 30 years without any signs or symptoms of this slow growing disease. Regular screening is therefore very important.
Once you turn 40 you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to have an initial prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test done. This way you will have a baseline number off of which future numbers can be compared. Men over 50 have an even greater chance of developing prostate cancer, and over 2/3rds of prostate cancers are found in men over 65.
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer found in men aged 15-35. While it can be treated in most cases, early detection is key with this disease as well. Swelling, enlargement, heaviness, pain or discomfort in either testicle may be symptoms of testicular cancer, however there may also be no symptoms at all. A short monthly self exam is your best chance for early detection.
Lance Armstrong battled testicular cancer in the public spotlight in the late 90’s, then going on to win the Tour de France for 7 consecutive years. Since then his foundation; Livestrong has become a championing resource for people battling cancer of all kinds.
Here are a few nutrients that men can easily add into their diet on a regular basis to support their health:
Zinc is a nutrient involved in more than 100 enzymes & is involved in more body functions than any other mineral! It is needed for the synthesis of DNA which boosts your immune system, allowing your body to fight off illness. Zinc can be found in oysters, red meats, pumpkin seeds, pecans & ginger.
Lycopene plays a role in preventing prostate cancer & promotes general prostate health. It is an antioxidant that is better absorbed by the body when it is present in a food that has been cooked. It is found in produce that has a red hue to it such as tomatoes & watermelon, purple cabbage, red grapefruit & berries.
Orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, red peppers & sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of vitamin c, beta-carotene & lutein. These nutrients lower the odds of developing an enlarged prostate, according to a large study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.