Is there a connection between poultry and prostate cancer? What are the facts? Are there any risks associated with consuming poultry or other animal products such as beef, pork, lamb, fish or shellfish?
These questions have been asked many times over the years. Some studies suggest that it may not be true; others show no link at all. Many experts believe that these types of foods do not cause cancer in humans. Others say they definitely do. And still others claim that there is no evidence whatsoever linking them to cancer.
The question of whether or not certain foods increase your risk of developing prostate cancer has become a hot topic recently. Research into this subject continues to grow, but so far the results have been mixed. Although some studies indicate that certain food groups (such as red meat) might raise your chances of getting prostate cancer, others don’t support this conclusion at all.
So what’s the verdict? Should you start avoiding red meat altogether because it could increase your risk of developing this disease? Or should you continue to eat it, just like everyone else? How much does this matter anyway? Will eating less red meat actually lower your chance of getting prostate cancer?
You’ll have to decide for yourself.
Why Prostate Cancer and Me?
If you were to look up the causes of prostate cancer, you would find a variety of possible answers. Some blame genetic factors, others blame environmental elements and still others claim it’s a combination of both. In reality, it is most likely a combination of factors that causes this disease.
While you might be tempted to just blame “bad genes” and give up, it’s important to remember that you still have some control over your health destiny. While genetics do play a role in your risk of developing a disease like prostate cancer, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to do nothing.
There is no way of knowing exactly what causes prostate cancer or how you can lower your chances of getting it. There is even some controversy about whether or not certain foods increase your risk of developing it. However, there are some general guidelines that most doctors and nutritionists agree on. These suggestions may not save you from getting prostate cancer, but they will definitely improve your overall health.
The Prostate and What It Does
The prostate is a gland in men (as well as animals of both sexes) that produces a fluid that becomes the seminal fluid (semen) during an ejaculation. Seminal fluid is what carries male reproductive cells (sperm) during sexual reproduction. These cells are what fertilize female reproductive cells (ovum or egg cells) during sexual activity.
In addition to its reproductive function, the prostate also helps increase the volume of the ejaculate as well as changing its texture so that it is easy for the female’s reproductive system to receive and transport the male’s reproductive cells. In other words, seminal fluid not only helps transport the male’s reproductive cells, but it also helps protect them during their journey.
Seminal fluid is composed of several different substances, including citric acid, enzymes, cholesterol, fibrinogen, phosphorylcholine, prostaglandin, serotonin and zinc. In addition to these ingredients, there are also digestive fluids that give the seminal fluid its slightly alkaline (basic) pH level (7.1). With this information in mind, you can see that the prostate does more than just produce seminal fluid. It also helps regulate its basic pH level, as well as helping to digest (and break down) some of the ingredients.
The prostate can be considered part of the male reproductive system, even though it is not directly involved in the reproductive process. The testicles produce the male’s reproductive cells (sperm), while the seminal vesicles and bulbourethral glands help prepare and package the cells for ejaculation. The urethra is the tube through which both urine and seminal fluid pass. It is also through this opening that the reproductive cells are ejaculated. The interior area of the prostate is lined with glandular cells that produce seminal fluid.
The cells are attached to fibers that help squeeze and push the fluid into the urethra.
Anatomy of the Prostate
The prostate is located just below the urinary bladder between the bottom of the stomach and the top of the inner thigh. This gland is about the size of a walnut, but it can sometimes be larger in men over fifty years of age. It surrounds the upper part of the urethra just below the bladder and therefore lies just behind the rectum. It is unique in that it is not in contact with other organs, but instead sits inside a fossa, or a shallow hollow, which separates it from the urinary bladder and genital organs in men.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop within the prostate and begin to multiply at a rapid rate. This condition is very similar to cancerous cells that develop within the ovaries, skin or other parts of the body. As these abnormal cells multiply at a fast rate, they begin to outnumber normal cells and form a tumor. In some cases, this tumor can put pressure on normal cells and may cause problems elsewhere in the body. This is why a tumor may be linked to pain or discomfort in the back, hips or other parts of the body.
The cancerous cells may also begin to invade and destroy other organs or structures within the body. This is why prostate cancer is considered dangerous and life threatening.
Prostate-Specific Antigen Test
The PSA test is very helpful in the detection of prostate cancer, especially in its earlier stages. The PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and can be detected in the blood. Although it is normal for a small amount of PSA to be in the blood, elevated levels can be a sign of cancer. A PSA test can help a doctor determine if further tests are needed or an immediate biopsy be performed.
The urologist may order a rectal exam, ultrasound, MRI or biopsy, depending on the results of the blood test. The rectal exam is done to check the size and shape of the prostate as well as feel for lumps or hard areas on the gland. An ultrasound can help a doctor determine the characteristics and boundaries of the prostate. If an abnormality is detected, a transrectal ultrasound may be needed to get a closer look at the gland. The doctor may also order an MRI to get a detailed image of the prostate.
A transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy is often the next step if cancer or abnormal cells are detected in the PSA test. A thin, hollow needle is inserted into the rectum and guided into the prostate. Several samples of tissue are then removed and examined under a microscope. If cancerous or pre-cancerous cells are found, the patient may require more extensive treatment.
Treatment options for prostate cancer include surgery, radiation and/or hormone therapy. The patient’s age, overall health and lifestyle as well as the size and location of the tumor are all factors that influence which treatment option is best. The side effects of each treatment must also be taken into consideration when choosing the appropriate course of action.
Surgery may be needed to remove the entire prostate as well as some surrounding tissue. Radiation Therapy: Radiation is often used when the tumor is in an inaccessible area or if the patient is not a candidate for surgery. External Beam radiation is most commonly used and involves an outpatient treatment where a large machine directs radiations at the tumor site. The patient sits on a table and the beam is aimed from several feet away. brachy therapy, or internal radiation, involves the insertion of small needles directly into the prostate to deliver radiations directly to the tumor site.
Hormone therapy includes the use of drugs to reduce the amount of testosterone in the body. Reducing the amount of testosterone can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.
Living With Prostate Cancer
After a cancer diagnosis, most men experience a wide range of thoughts and emotions including fear, anxiety and uncertainty. These feelings are common and most men experience them to some degree. It is important to seek help and support when going through this difficult time. The emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis are greater for some men than others. Some men experience severe anxiety, stress and even depression.
These men may benefit from joining a support group or speaking with a counselor to help them cope with their feelings.
Currently, prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer death among men in the United States. More than 172,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and more than 27,000 will die from the disease. Despite this, many men still don’t discuss their prostate health with their doctors. It is important for men to be aware of the risk factors and warning signs associated with prostate cancer so they can take immediate action if needed.
Many men put off going to the doctor for yearly check-ups and fail to discuss major health concerns with their primary care physician. Prostate cancer screening tests are very easy to perform and can save lives. By taking care of your prostate health, you can prevent prostate cancer before it takes root. Early detection and treatment of prostate cancer can improve your chances of survival.
About the Prostate
Your prostate is a walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder, just below the bladder and behind the pubic bone. The prostate produces some of the fluid that makes up urine, along with seminal fluid that nourishes and transports male reproductive cells during ejaculation.
The prostate tends to grow as a man ages and is a common problem as men get older. Most men will experience some problems with their prostate as they age and many of these cases are not cancer. Usually, prostate problems only become worrisome when they begin to have an effect on a man’s quality of life.
The prostate is susceptible to cancer, which is the abnormal growth of cells that divide without control and can invade and destroy healthy tissue. Prostate cancer is very common and can occur in men of any age, but most are diagnosed after age 50.
The most common symptom of prostate cancer is the inability to urinate. The prostate is located directly below the urethra and if the cancerous cells block the urethra, a man will experience difficulty or an inability to urinate. Most men with this symptom will have blood in their urine. Other symptoms can include frequent need to urinate, weak urine stream, aching in the back or bottom of the pelvis and pain in the groin.
There are no obvious signs or symptoms for early stage prostate cancer. Many men live their whole lives without even knowing they have prostate cancer because it never causes any problems. However, once the cancer becomes severe enough to affect a man’s quality of life, there are several symptoms that can occur.
Because different men experience different symptoms and the cancer itself can progress at different rates, there is no one standard treatment for prostate cancer. The type of treatment a man receives will depend on several factors including his age, overall health and the type and severity of the cancer.
Some common treatments for prostate cancer include:
Watchful waiting: Because early stages of prostate cancer usually do not produce any symptoms, many men choose to forego treatment altogether. However, men with a family history of prostate cancer or who are in otherwise poor health may choose to undergo regular checkups and tests in order to catch the cancer early if it does develop.
Surgery: The most common treatment for stage one prostate cancer is surgery. During surgery, the doctor will remove the patient’s prostate through an incision in his lower abdomen. Other treatments can be done at the same time, including removing part or all of the man’s bladder or nearby lymph nodes. After surgery, a catheter will be placed in the man’s bladder to help him urinate. Most men make a full recovery and get rid of their prostate cancer within three to six months.
Radiation: Radiation is most often used to treat prostate cancer that has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes. During radiation treatment, the patient sits in a chair while a team of doctors and nurses move a machine over his body to target the cancerous cells with radiation. After each treatment, the patient usually has to stay in the chair for an hour or two while his skin burns. Radiation is most effective when the patient can receive a high dose to the affected area, but can also weaken the patient’s immune system and cause other side effects.
Hormone therapy: In some cases, doctors will prescribe hormone therapy to combat hormonal prostate cancer. These drugs block the body’s natural production of testosterone and estrogen, which fuel prostate cancer cells. Hormone therapy can be taken as medication by mouth or in the form of an injection.
Hormone therapy can cause a variety of side effects, including weight gain and diabetes. Without testosterone in the body, men can experience extreme fatigue, decreased muscle mass and loss of body hair. Men can also experience erectile dysfunction.
Hormone therapy can also be used to treat men with less aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
Sources & references used in this article:
Is There A Connection Between Poultry and Prostate Cancer? by J Taraday – breakingmuscle.com
Diet, obesity, and risk of fatal prostate cancer by DA Snowdon, RL PHILLIPS… – American journal of …, 1984 – academic.oup.com
Meat consumption among Black and White men and risk of prostate cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort by C Rodriguez, ML McCullough, AM Mondul… – Cancer Epidemiology …, 2006 – AACR