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Prostate Cancer Risks: Age, Race, Family, And Now Weight Gain

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services -- Unrestricted

09-03-09

Patrick Walsh, M.D., author of Guide To Surviving Prostate Cancer and Distinguished Service Professor of Urology--The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, is the world's foremost authority on prostate cancer. His book provides some striking news for men:

--More than 200,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

--27,000 will die in the U.S. from it this year.

--Prostate cancer is the most common major cancer in men.

--Because prostate cancer is silent, generally without symptoms, early detection is the key.

--Men should begin being screened for prostate cancer at age 40.

--When prostate cancer is small, it is curable.

--More than 95% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are alive ten years later.

Dr. Walsh evaluates the three major risk factors--age, race, and family history. Prostate cancer is the scourge of older men (age 60-79) with a risk rate of 1 in 7 developing the cancer. The cancer frequently takes time to grow, over the course of decades.

The highest risk of prostate cancer hits African American men. Why this is, is not completely understood, but may involve genetic susceptibility, diet, and lack of vitamin D. Their cancers are also more likely to be severe types and recur.

Risk of prostate cancer grows higher with familial links. In fact, the risk is 2.5 times higher if your father or brother had prostate cancer. Hereditary prostate cancer, (possible risk of 50%) is believed to occur when three first degree family members had it, the disease shows itself in three generations, or if two relatives developed the disease earlier (less than age 55).

The most important action to take is to get screened, beginning at age 40. The PSA test can provide a baseline for later years. Dr. Walsh adds that those between the ages of 50 and 64 who die of prostate cancer, could very well have been saved if the disease had been caught while in their forties.

A recently released study from the online journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention (Sep 2009) has found that weight gain plays a major role in the development of prostate cancer.

Dr. Walsh includes a prevention chapter in his new second edition. He recommends men eat a minimum of five fruits and vegetables a day, especially focusing in on the cruciferous vegetables as cited from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli are examples of the type of vegetables which contain sulforaphane--an important anticancer ingredient which helps to increase potent enzymes in the body. In turn, the body is assisted in creating its own antioxidants to help ward off cancer.

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