Men and Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man gets older. Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50. If you’re under 50, your risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is very low, but it is possible. The risk is even higher for men with a family history of prostate cancer and for black men (in the UK, about 1 in 4 black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime).
Men are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if their father or brother has had it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer. The risk for a man getting prostate cancer may also be higher if his mother or sister has had breast cancer. Recent research also suggests that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer.
So, what is the prostate? The prostate is a gland. It is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate's main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.
Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way.
Some prostate cancer grows too slowly to cause any problems or affect how long you live. Because of this, many men with prostate cancer will never need any treatment.
But some prostate cancer grows quickly and is more likely to spread. This is more likely to cause problems and will need treatment to stop it spreading.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any signs or symptoms.
Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).
When this occurs, you may notice:
a sudden or increased need to pee
difficulty or straining while you pee
a weak flow when you pee
a feeling that your bladder hasn’t fully emptied
dribbling pee after you finish urinating
These symptoms should not be ignored, but they do not mean you have prostate cancer. It's more likely they're caused by something else, such as prostate enlargement.
back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain
problems getting or keeping an erection
blood in the urine or semen
unexplained weight loss
You can’t check for prostate cancer yourself so there is no way of knowing if you have prostate cancer without visiting your doctor, as most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms. And, if you do have any symptoms, they can be caused by other health problems.
The discussion about screening with your GP should take place at:
Age 50+ for men who are at average risk.
Age 45+ for men at high risk. This includes black men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer, even if you don't have any symptoms.
The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer are: a blood test, a physical digital rectal examination (DGE), an MRI scan and a biopsy.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer and it’s caught early before it causes symptoms, there is a good chance treatment could stop the cancer spreading. It may not be possible to cure your cancer, but you may be able to have treatment to help control the cancer and manage symptoms.
There are things we can do to reduce the risk of cancer; this includes not smoking and keeping a healthy weight. For more tips on what you can do that make getting cancer less likely read on.
You can’t control some risk factors, like getting older, but you can control many others. Two of the most important things you can do are making healthy choices and getting screening tests:
Maintain a healthy weight. The latest research suggests that being overweight may increase your risk of being diagnosed with aggressive or advanced prostate cancer. Obesity increases the risk of many forms of cancer. Calories count; if you need to slim down, take in fewer calories and burn more with exercise.
Exercise regularly. Men who are active are more likely to be a healthy weight and less likely to develop health problems. Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Have a healthy balanced diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping physically active can help you stay a healthy weight, and so might help to lower your risk. There are lots of healthy eating tips and recipes on the NHS and World Cancer Research Fund websites.
Limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods and drinks that are high in fat or sugar.
Certain foods might lower your risk, including pulses, such as beans, peas, lentils and soya foods, and foods containing:
Lycopene: such as tomatoes and tomato products
Vitamin E: such as nuts, seeds, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables, and avocados.
Some foods might increase your risk if you eat a lot of them such as processed and red meat, and high calorie foods and drinks:
Dairy foods - such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese, might increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is unknown as to why this is the case, but it is thought it may be because of the calcium in them. Dairy alternatives with added calcium, such as soya yoghurt or soya milk, also count as dairy foods.
Calcium - having too much calcium in your diet might increase your risk of prostate cancer. But you do need about 700mg a day to keep your bones healthy. You can get this from a balanced diet.
Processed and red meat - eating red and processed meat increases your risk of some types of cancer. Red meat includes beef, pork and lamb. Processed meat includes ham, bacon and other cured or preserved meats. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends eating no more than 500g of cooked red meat per week (700 to 750g when raw), and avoiding processed meat.
Drink sensibly. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of some types of cancer. Limit the amount of alcohol units you drink to 14 a week. Try to spread this out throughout the week and have some alcohol-free days. Drink mostly water and unsweetened drinks.
Don’t smoke. It goes without saying that not smoking is the biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. If you smoke, you may be more likely to get an aggressive type of prostate cancer that is more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body, and so you may be more likely to die from prostate cancer, if you get it. If you stop smoking, your risk should start to drop and after 10 years it could be as low as for men who have never smoked. Your GP can help you stop smoking and can tell you about ‘stop smoking’ clinics. Visit the NHS website for more information to help you stop smoking.
Make quality sleep a priority. Admittedly, the evidence linking sleep to cancer is not strong. But poor and insufficient sleep is associated with weight gain, which is a cancer risk factor.
Get enough vitamin D – sometimes known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Many experts now recommend 800 to 1,000 IU a day, a goal that's nearly impossible to attain without taking a supplement. Evidence suggests that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and other malignancies. In the U.K. the NHS advise everyone should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D during the autumn and winter. Furthermore, studies show vitamin D plays a role in fighting disease, reducing depression, and boosting weight loss. Himmense SHIFT contains 200% of your NRV.
Get regular cancer screening tests. Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early, when they’re small, have not spread, and are easier to treat.
Manage your mental health. One in three people with cancer will experience a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety disorders before, during or after treatment. A study suggests that for people with cancer who have a mental health problem, getting mental health treatment may help them live longer. Get tips here on managing your mental health.
Himmense Cancer Fighting Ingredients
Clinical studies have shown that several of the nutrients found in Himmense SHIFT collagen capsules play an important role in treating cancerous cells, including Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Selenium and Ashwagandha.1
Research has shown that Ashwagandha has a number of benefits including treating cancerous cells. Animal and test tube studies have shown that withaferin, a bioactive compound in ashwagandha promotes the death of tumor cells and may help treat several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancer. Although no evidence suggests that ashwagandha exerts similar effects in humans, the current research is encouraging. You can read more about the benefits of Ashwagandha here.
Higher blood levels of Selenium may protect against certain cancers, while supplementing with selenium may help improve quality of life in people undergoing radiation therapy. A review of 69 studies that included over 350,000 people, found that having a high blood level of selenium was associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers. Another review of 16 clinical studies on selenium and radiotherapy, which included 1303 cancer patients, concluded that Selenium supplements improved the general condition of patients, improved quality of life, prevented or reduced the side effects of radiotherapy and did not reduce the effectiveness of radiotherapy or cause any toxicity. You can read more about the benefits of Selenium here.
Some observational studies suggest a link between adequate dietary intake and blood levels of Vitamin B6 and a decreased risk of certain types of cancer. For example, a review of 12 studies found that both adequate dietary intake and blood levels of B6 were associated with lower risks of colorectal cancer. Individuals with the highest blood levels of B6 had an almost 50% lower risk of developing this type of cancer. Researchers suspect that it’s related to its ability to fight inflammation that may contribute to cancer and other chronic conditions.
For more information on the science behind the nutrients in HIMMENSE SHIFT supplements for men see here. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Consult a doctor or healthcare professional if you have any questions or are taking any other medications before you try any remedies.
Resources and support
If you think you might be at risk of prostate cancer or are experiencing any symptoms, visit your GP.
You can also get support from:
Below are useful links for articles and podcasts to get you started if you want to learn more about any of the topics raised in this blog.
Published 24 November 2021