Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Is Prostate Cancer Hereditary?

Feb. 10, 2015
Dear Cathy:
My husband is starting to have trouble with his prostate.  My husband's father and brother both had prostate cancer.  They are doing fine after surgery.  What does my husband need to know about prostate cancer and is it hereditary?  Family History of Prostate Cancer, Florida
Dear Family History of Prostate Cancer:
Every man should get his prostate checked by age 40, earlier if they have family history. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men.  African American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world.  The risk for prostate cancer increases with age.  Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men and most often appears after age 50 but can appear at an earlier age especially today because of the toxic world that we live in.
Diets are certainly a factor.  Family history also plays a role because most families were raised eating the same diets but most diseases are not hereditary.  If a man's father or brother has cancer of the prostate, his risk is two to three times greater than average.  Men who eat large amounts of animal fat, particularly fats from red meat, may face a greater risk of prostate cancer than men who eat less animal fat.
Prostate cancer forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system). The prostate produces semen, the fluid that carries sperm.  The prostate gland is found below the bladder and in front of the rectum.  Normally, the prostate is about the size of a walnut.
As a man gets older, the prostate often becomes enlarged.  More than one-half of American men over the age of 60, have some enlargement of the prostate.   This is not usually caused by cancer but could possibly cause other problems.
Often, there are no symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer.  If symptoms do occur, they can vary, depending on the size and exact location of the lump or the growth in the prostate.  Since the prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen, any change in the prostate can cause problems with urination and ejaculation. However, similar symptoms can be caused by a number of things, including an infection or a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
If a man has any problems with weak or interrupted flow or pain while urinating, painful ejaculation, blood in the urine or semen, or, a nagging pain in the back, hips or pelvis, he should see a health care provider or an urologist to find out what's going on.  The only way to detect prostate cancer is by taking a PSA test or getting a rectal exam.   Saw palmetto, green tea and zinc supplements from whole or health food stores aids in preventing prostate cancer.  

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