8 men a day on average are told every single day in New Zealand that they have prostate cancer.
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The Structure and Function of the Prostate Gland
The prostate is one of the male sex glands. The other major sex glands are the testicles and seminal vesicles. Together these glands secrete the fluids that make up semen.
The normal prostate is about the size of a walnut. It lies just below the bladder and surrounds the beginning of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that runs through the penis. It carries urine from the bladder and semen from the sex glands.
As the prostate is a sex gland, its growth is influenced by male sex hormones. The chief male hormone is testosterone, which is produced mostly by the testicles.
Screening & Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
Regular prostate PSA tests are important for men who:
- Are over the age of 40 if there is a family history of prostate cancer
- Are older than 50, but younger than 70
Men having any problems such as pain, fever, swelling of the prostate, and blood and pus in the urine or problems passing urine should consult their doctor without delay.
The most insidious thing about Prostate Cancer, and what makes it so dangerous, is that in its early stages it does not usually exhibit symptoms. When symptoms begin to appear then it is frequently too late for effective curative treatment. This is why regular check-ups are so important.
Five Steps to Prostate Cancer Prevention:
- Test Annually:
Men should undergo annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exams (DRE) starting at age 45 or earlier. High-risk groups should begin testing at age 40.
- Listen to Your Body:
A change in the frequency, urgency and pressure during urination, painful urination or the presence of blood in urine are all warning signs.
- Regulate Diet & Alcohol Intake:
Eat healthy, balanced meals rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consume no more than two drinks per day as studies show regular heavy drinking increases risk.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Obesity may effect hormone levels related to prostate cancer risk.
- Exercise Regularly:
At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to seven times per week.
For more valuable information and to donate, visit the Prostate Foundation’s web-site.