Posts Tagged ‘prostate cancer prevention’

Tomatoes and Not Potatoes May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

July 8, 2016

For many years I have been focused on nutrition and various urologic diseases, especially prostate cancer.  Although the relationship between prostate cancer and diet is certainly a consideration, the use of tomatoes may be one of the strongest preventive options a man can take to avoid prostate cancer.

There are many health advantages of eating more tomatoes, which includes a lower risk of prostate cancer and other cancers as well. While the good news is Americans eat more tomatoes and tomato products than any other non-starchy vegetable, about 90% of adult men fail to consume the 2.5 cups of vegetables per day recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Tomatoes contain a high antioxidant content, specifically lycopene. Lycopene has been the subject of many research studies regarding its protective effect against prostate cancer.

In men with prostate cancer, lycopene supplementation has been shown to be safe and tolerated well in doses up to 120 mg per day for up to one year. Toxicity is generally very mild, with diarrhea as a possible side effect at very high doses.

There appears to be a protective effect of tomatoes and tomato products on the prevention of prostate cancer as well as improvements in biomarkers of disease status, including the PSA levels.

A unique characteristic of tomatoes is that unlike the nutrients in other fresh fruits and vegetables, lycopene is more bioavailable after tomatoes are cooked and processed. This fact opens up even more possibilities for individuals to enjoy the benefits of lycopene.

According to the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, ½ cup of tomato paste contains 18.84 mg of lycopene, while an equal amount of tomato sauce has 17.12 mg, spaghetti sauce has 15.82 mg, and tomato juice has 10.88 mg of lycopene.  One-half cup of raw tomatoes, however, contains only 2.32 mg of lycopene. Non-tomato products that contain lycopene include watermelon (1/2 cup has 3.44 mg) and grapefruit (1/2 fruit contains 1.75 mg).

More recent hypotheses have looked at the advantages of whole tomatoes, which are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, and identified other protective elements beyond lycopene. Vitamins A and C are potent antioxidants, while fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol, and potassium is helpful in lowering blood pressure and possibly reducing bone loss.

Experts in nutrition and cancer note that the preponderance of evidence suggests that consumption of whole tomatoes and tomato products should be preferentially recommended because of greater consistency of documented positive outcomes with the whole tomato and the concomitant supply of other important essential nutrients.

Given that tomatoes and tomato products are already dietary favorites, increasing their consumption can achieve several goals, including reduction in the risk of prostate cancer and other diseases, and helping Americans achieve the recommended daily intake of 2.5 cups of vegetables.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (besides skin cancer) in men and the second most cause of death in men following lung cancer.  Men can be easily diagnosed with a PSA test and a digital rectal exam.  Man can also decrease their risk of prostate cancer by consuming lycopene, an antioxidant, which is plentiful in tomatoes.

Take A Little Joe and Blow Away Prostate Cancer

November 1, 2014

Prostate cancer (PCa) patients who drink at least one cup of coffee per day may experience a significantly decreased risk of PCa recurrence or progression after treatment. This also applies to men who have a diagnosis of prostate cancer and opt to “watch and wait” and not receive any treatment.

In a study of 630 men aged 35-74 diagnosed with PCa from 2002 to 2005, drinking one cup of coffee per day was associated with a 56% decreased risk of recurrence or progression compared with drinking one cup or fewer per week. Drinking four or more cups per day and two to three cups per day was associated with a greater decrease than men who consumed only two cups a day.

For men who do not drink coffee, it is not possible to recommend that they start drinking coffee based on results from our observational study. Of course, men who might have conditions that may be aggravated by coffee should consult with their physicians as to whether it would be okay for them to drink a cup of coffee a day.

Bottom Line: This is a preliminary study that suggests that coffee may be beneficial for the treatment of prostate cancer. As my wonderful Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it probably voidn’t hoit!”

10 Reasons That Sex Contributes to Good Health

June 1, 2014

On so many occasions many of my male and female patients have indicated that as they reach middle age, that sexual intimacy has taken a back seat and is less important than it was years ago. For this blog, I would like to illuminate 10 reasons to take the sex drive off the back shelf and put it on the front burner. Both you and your partner will be glad you did.
Sex not only feels good. It can also be good for you. Here’s what a healthy sex life can do for you.
1. Revs Up Your Immune System Humming
Sexually active people miss fewer days of work and make fewer visits to the doctor.
People who have sex have higher levels of what defends your body against germs, viruses, and other foreign substances. Researchers found that those men and women who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the a certain antibody compared to those who had sex less often.
You should still do all the other things that make your immune system happy, such as:
Eat right.
Stay active.
Get enough sleep.
Keep up with your vaccinations.
Use a condom if you don’t know you and your partner’s STD status.
2. Boosts Your Libido
Having sex will make sex better and will improve your libido.
For women, having sex increases vaginal lubrication, blood flow to the pelvis, and elasticity of the vagina, all of which make sex feel better and help you crave more of it.
3. Improves Women’s Bladder Control
A strong pelvic floor is important for avoiding incontinence, involuntary loss of urine, something that will affect about 30% of women at some point in their lives.
Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. When you have an orgasm, it causes contractions in those muscles, which strengthens them.
4. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Research suggests a link between sex and lower blood pressure. Numerous studies have reported that sexual intercourse lowered systolic blood pressure, the first or top number on your blood pressure test.
5. Counts as Exercise
Sex is a really great form of aerobic exercise. It won’t replace the treadmill, but it counts for a short cardio workout.
Sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV! It bumps up your heart rate.
So get busy! You may even want to clear your schedule to make time for it on a regular basis. Consistency or regular sex helps maximize the benefits.
6. Lowers Heart Attack Risk
A good sex life is good for your heart. Besides being a great way to raise your heart rate and provide you with a cardio workout more fun than spinning, sex helps keep your estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men in balance.
When either one of those is low you begin to get lots of problems, like osteoporosis and even heart disease.
Having sex more often may help. During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease than the less sexually active men who had sex rarely.
7. Lessens Pain
Before you reach for an aspirin, ibuprofen or a pain pill, try an orgasm.
An orgasm can block pain by releasing endorphins which are much more powerful than morphine. Orgasm releases endorphins that helps raise your pain threshold.
Stimulation without orgasm can also be effective. Vaginal stimulation can block chronic back and leg pain, and many women report that genital self-stimulation can reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain, and in some cases even headache.
8. Send Big “C” Out To Sea
Going for the sexual homerun or orgasm may help ward off prostate cancer.
The prestigious the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) were less likely to get prostate cancer.
You don’t need a partner to reap this benefit: Sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation were all part of the equation.
9. Improves Sleep
You may nod off more quickly after sex, and for good reason.
After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness after sex.
10. Eases Stress
Being close to your partner can soothe stress and anxiety.
Even touching and hugging can release your body’s natural feel-good hormones. Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Sex and intimacy can boost your self-esteem and happiness, too,
Bottom Line: Who would have “thunk” that sex is good for you and can help keep you healthy and well. As my wise Jewish mother, St. Sara, would say, “It may not help but it voidn’t hoit!” Rest in peace St. Sara.

Tomatoes Can Punch Out Prostate Cancer

March 14, 2014

Tomatoes Can Punch Out Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer remains one of the most common cancers in men and causes the death of nearly 30,000 men each year. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown but we do know that having a family member with prostate cancer and African American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer which leads me to believe that there is a genetic or hereditary basis for prostate cancer.

A recent study from the Journal of National Cancer Institute has pointed out that increased consumption of lycopenes, which are found in tomatoes, tomato-based products, pink grapefruit, and watermelons appear to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

The study suggests that increasing the consumption of a diet rick in lycopene-containing foods reduces the aggressive potential of prostate cancer. The study showed that a high in take of tomato or tomato-based products was associated with a 10%-20% decrease in prostate cancer risk and those men who had high blood levels of lycopenes had a 25% decrease risk of prostate cancer.

For those men who do not like tomatoes, you can take a supplement of lycopene, 20-25mg per day.

Bottom Line: No one knows for certain why lycopenes decreases the risk of prostate cancer. But as my wise Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit.”

Lose Weight and It May Affect Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

October 28, 2013

Prostate cancer is a slow growing tumor that affects millions of American men. More than 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors. There are 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer discovered each year. Although more than 80% of prostate cancer patients are diagnosed with cancer confined to the prostate gland, the relative 10-year survival rate is 93% for all men regardless of how far advanced is the cancer. Most men are interested in finding out what they can do to prevent prostate cancer. This blog will discuss how exercise may help prevent prostate cancer.

There is new evidence that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer and, more importantly, regular exercise decreases the risk of prostate cancer. 
Studies of exercise and prostate cancer risk have mostly shown that men who exercise may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Exercise has many other health benefits and may reduce your risk of heart disease and other cancers. Exercise can help you maintain your weight, or it can help you lose weight.

A study performed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the records of 2,705 men who had been diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer over 18-years. The men in the study reported the time they spent exercising on a weekly basis. This included running, bicycling, walking, swimming, other sports, and even outdoor work. Men who reported vigorous activity for at least three hours per week had a 61% lower risk of a prostate cancer-specific death, compared with men who exercised for less than an hour per week.

The results of this study suggests that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine.
A little is better than none

The researchers observed benefits at very attainable levels of activity and that the study suggests that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health, even if it is a small amount, such as 15 minutes of activity per day of walking, jogging, biking, or mowing the law\gardening.

There is good evidence that doing vigorous activity for three or more hours per week may be especially beneficial for prostate cancer, as well as overall health. The research shows a significant risk reduction for prostate cancer mortality with increasing vigorous activity.
The study is published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Decreased physical activity, which may be the result of the cancer itself or the treatment, can lead to tiredness and lack of energy. Regular, moderate exercise can decrease these feelings, help you stay active, and increase your energy. Even during cancer therapy, it is often possible to continue exercising.

If you don’t already exercise, make an appointment with your doctor to see if it’s OK for you to get started. When you begin exercising, go slowly. Add physical activity to your day by parking your car farther away from where you’re going, and try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Risk of prostate cancer is higher in men who are African American descent or who have a father, brother, uncle, or close relative with prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk. 
Some men have an increased risk of prostate cancer. For those with a very high risk of prostate cancer, there may be other options for risk reduction, such as medications.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is a common malignancy that affects millions of American men. There are risks of increasing prostate cancer and steps you can take like improving your diet and increasing your exercise level that will decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

Spicing Up Your Treatment Prostate Cancer

September 8, 2013

Would you ever imagine that a common spice added to food could be helpful in preventing and perhaps treating prostate cancer?  Allspice, a popular flavoring contains an antioxidant that decreases the growth of prostate cancer cells in experiments. Allspice a popular folk medicine remedy for a number of maladies, and it has the highest amount of antioxidants of any food we know.

Allspice is produced from the dried, unripe berries of the Pimenta diocia tree, which grows in the Caribbean and Central America. 

Allspice contains an active ingredient, Ericifolin, which significantly slowed the growth of cancer cells.  The study was conducted in mice with implanted prostate tumors.  Tumor growth was inhibited in more than half of the mice.  Also prostate specific antigen (PSA) was lowered in the mice treated with the Allspice. 

Since allspice is not toxic, men would be ideal candidates to take Ericifolin as a daily dietary supplement to prevent prostate cancer and in men with slow growing prostate cancer or in men who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy.

Bottom Line: It may be too soon to tout the benefits of Allspice since there are few scientific studies on allspice, but the researchers were intrigued by what they learned.

Take Two (Aspirin) and You May Not Need To Call Me In the Morning-Aspirin May Decrease Death From Prostate Cancer

August 28, 2012


A recent article from the New York Times reports that men treated for prostate cancer who took aspirin regularly for other medical conditions were less likely to die of their cancer than patients who weren’t taking aspirin. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer occurring among men and the No. 2 cancer killer of men.

The new report adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that aspirin may play a beneficial role in the treatment and possibly the prevention of a variety of cancers including prostate and colon cancer.
In the new study looked at nearly 6,000 men who had localized prostate cancer and were treated with surgery or radiotherapy. Just over one-third of the men, or 2,175 of the 5,955, were taking aspirin.
Those taking aspirin were less than half as likely as those who were not to die of prostate cancer over a 10-year period. The prostate cancer death rate for those taking aspirin was 3 percent, the researchers found, compared with 8 percent for those who did not. The aspirin users were also significantly less likely to experience a recurrence of prostate cancer or have the disease spread to the bones, the study found.

The study is not the first to find a reduction in recurrence among prostate cancer patients who took aspirin. Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia reported this year that among 2,051 prostate cancer patients, those not using aspirin were twice as likely to experience a recurrence within 18 months, as detected by rising scores on the prostate-specific antigen test, a strong predictor of metastasis and survival.

While many Americans, inclduing myself, use baby aspirin to reduce their risk of heart disease, taking aspirin regularly is risky. Patients generally are advised to do so only when their cardiac risk is presumed to outweigh the risks, which include an increase in gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said he believes that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in the prevention of both heart disease and cancer.

Bottom Line: Aspirin may be helpful for preventing heart diease and preventing recurrence of prostate cancer. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and has very risks and complications. Check with your doctor before embarking on aspirin therapy. Remember, an aspirin a day may keep the prostate cancer away

Prevent Cancer Recurrence-Eat Right and Exercise a Lot

July 25, 2012

A recent study from Ccancer Journal for Clinicians (April 26, 2012) indicated that prostate cancer patients and those with other forms of cancer should maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and each a healthy diet in order to decrease the risk of recurrence.  Strong evidence shows that both healthy diet and exercise can prevent cancers from recurring.  So if you have cancer and our recovering from cancer surgery, radiation or chemotherapy you need to be plenty of fruits and vegetables, decrease your consumption of red meat, limit your carbohydrate intake, and exercise at least 20 minutes a day 4 days a week.

 

To Screen Or Not Screen-That’s the Question, What’s the Answer?

October 20, 2011

Annual cancer tests are becoming a thing of the past. New guidelines for cervical cancer screening have experts at odds over some things, but they are united in the view that the common practice of getting a Pap test for cervical cancer every year is too often and probably doing more harm than good.
A Pap smear once every three years is the best way to detect cervical cancer. Recently it was recommended against prostate cancer screening with PSA tests, which many men get every year.
Two years ago, it said mammograms to check for breast cancer are only needed every other year starting at age 50, although the American Cancer Society still advises annual tests starting at age 40. A large study found more false alarms for women getting mammograms every year instead of every other year.
It’s a fact that the more tests that you do, the more likely you are to be faced with a false-positive test that leads to unnecessary biopsies and possible harm. We see an emerging consensus that annual Pap tests are not required for us to see the benefits that we have seen from screening.
Those benefits are substantial. Cervical cancer has declined dramatically in the United States, from nearly 15 cases for every 100,000 women in 1975 to nearly 7 per 100,000 in 2008. About 12,200 new cases and 4,210 deaths from the disease occurred last year, most of them in women who have never been screened or not in the past five years.
The cancer society and other groups say using Pap smears together with tests for HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, could improve screening. Instead, reaching women who are not being adequately screened now probably could save more lives.
Bottom Line: Patients need to be informed about the benefits vs. the risks of screening. By being knowledgeable about the screening tests and having a discussion with your doctor is the best way to come to a decision about screening in your situation.

Vitamin E May Not Be All That It is Cracked Up To Be

October 11, 2011

For years we have told our patients that large daily doses of vitamin E, long touted as a virtual wonder drug containing cancer-fighting anti-oxidants could protect against cancer, heart disease, dementia and other ailments, increase the risk for prostate cancer among middle-aged men.
In 2001 he National Institutes of Health launched a $119 million project to study prostate cancer after laboratory studies and some clinical data indicated that the anti-oxidant vitamin E and selenium might protect against prostate cancer, the second most common cancer and cancer killer in men.
The study followed more than 35,533 men age 50 or older at 427 sites in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The men were divided into four groups who took daily doses of 400 international units of vitamin E and 200 micrograms of selenium; vitamin E and a placebo that looked like selenium; selenium and a placebo that looked like vitamin E; or two placebos.
An independent panel monitoring the experiment halted the study in 2008 when it became clear there was no benefit and indications emerged the supplements might be increasing the risk for prostate cancer and diabetes.

The analysis of data from more than 35,000 healthy men concluded that those who took vitamin E every day at the relatively large dose levels were 17 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer.
The study concluded that vitamin E is unlikely to help prevent prostate cancer but it apparently could harm the very men who were taking the vitamin for its beneficial effect.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and are the latest in a series of carefully designed experiments that have found that vitamins and other dietary supplements are useless or possibly dangerous.
Bottom Line: If you are taking vitamin E, I suggest you discuss this with your physician and be certain that the beneficial effects are worth the increased risk of taking vitamin E.
Neil Baum is a urologist and a clinical faculty member at Tulane and LSU medical schools in New Orleans. He blogs at Blog: Dr. Neil Baum’s Urology Blog