Go for Mo!
Every year, November – also known as “Movember” – is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Canada and around the world.
This health initiative was conceived in 1999 by a group of Australian men from Adelaide, and then made its way to Canada in 2007. With the growth of their “mos”, men all around the globe raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, initially producing no symptoms. It may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It’s serious, and can be painful.
Some symptoms of prostate cancer may include: pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.
Current screening tests are blood PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) and a yearly digital rectal examination.
The treatment options for prostate cancer vary depending on the age and health of the patient and the extent of the cancer. Surgical removal of the prostate gland, radiation, anti-hormone therapy and “watchful waiting” are all common treatments, depending on the stage and extent of the disease.
Important information for men to be aware of is to know their risk factors, be informed with strategies to help promote prostate health, and screen yearly to diagnose prostate cancer early.
Movember does a great job drawing attention to all of these.
If you want to sport a Mo and get involved, head on over to the Movember website.
Since I’m all about prevention, and can’t actually grow a Mo myself, I want the men in my life and yours to stay healthy and ensure a healthy prostate in the long term. The following tips are designed to do just that.
Change Your Diet
First thing’s first: adopt a better diet, one that’s rich in in Omega 3 fatty acids from purified fish, low in saturated animal fat, high in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.), low in simple carbohydrates and refined sugar, and high in fiber foods to insure proper elimination and promote bowel health.
A number of studies examining tomato products, lycopene intake, or circulating lycopene levels in relation to prostate cancer risk, suggest high consumption or high circulating concentrations are associated with a reduction in risk of prostate cancer (Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, et al. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002;94:391-398).
Eat More… Beta-sitosterol?
It’s less complicated than it sounds. Beta-sitosterol is one of the most abundant phytosterols in the diet and is commonly found in many plants, legumes and botanicals such as saw palmetto (Serona repens) and pygeum (Pygeum africanum). It is thought to be one of the key active ingredients in many of the prostate-specific herbs and is present in many combination products (supplements) for male and prostate health. Preclinical research has demonstrated that beta-sitosterol inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cell lines (Jourdain C, Tenca G, Deguercy A, et al. 2006. Eur J Cancer Prev, 15(4):353-61).
The pomegranate fruit has been studied considerably and demonstrates antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, indicating that it may be useful in the treatment and prevention of certain cancers, specifically prostate cancer (Altern Med Rev 2008;13(2):128-144).
Get some Sun (but not too much!)
Vitamin D helps protect again prostate cancer and is especially deficient during the winter months (Van Veldhuizen PJ, Taylor SA, Williamson S, Drees BM. J Urol 2000). Can’t get direct sunlight? Try a Vitamin D supplement when the days are shorter.
Up your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, enhances immune function, and protects against carcinogens. It is suggested that Vitamin C can protect against abnormal cell growth and reduce one’s risk of cancer.
Eat Your Veggies
Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) is a compound found in high concentrations in Brassica family vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Studies have shown that I3C has the potential to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in human prostate cancer cells, as well as suppress abnormal cell growth in the prostate and inhibit the formation of the more potent/toxic form of testosterone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) (Chinni SR, Li Y, Upadhyay S, et al. Oncogene 2001).
Take a Load Off
Stress management is essential to prostate health. Reducing stress helps lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and boosts the immune system enhancing optimal health.
Get Checked Out
Get your yearly prostate exam! Men of any age should have a baseline PSA then a yearly check of PSA starting at the age of 40 along with an annual digital rectal exam.