—by Cate Stevenson, BA
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of control. The peripheral zone of the prostate usually develops cancer first. These small clumps of cancer cells attach to an otherwise healthy prostate. When and if the cells begin to multiply, they can spread to the surrounding prostate tissue. Eventually a tumor may invade nearby organs such as the seminal vesicles, bladder, or the rectum. Or tumor cells may travel into the lymphatic system and the bloodstream.
A PSA test can help to diagnose prostate cancer before it spreads too far. In fact, new research from Sweden finds that the test cuts the number of lives lost to the disease by almost half. There has been much debate of late whether PSA screening saves men’s lives or merely leads to the over-diagnosis of very slow-growing cancers, causing worry and unnecessary treatments.
For the still-ongoing study, researchers randomly assigned some 20,000 men to either PSA screening once every two years or no screening. The men were between 50 and 65 at the start of the study. Over 14 years of follow-up, deaths from prostate cancer dropped by 44% among the screened men, compared with unscreened men, the researchers found. Overall, 44 of the men who had PSA testing died from prostate cancer, compared to 78 men who had not had been screened.
Clearly, it could be vitally important for men over 50 to get the PSA test. Along with the PSA test, consider adding soy to your diet. Soy may be one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle as to why cancer rates in Asia differ so much from those in the U.S. Okinawans eat soy as part of their daily diet and also have one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Soy contains a number of protective nutrients. The most important one for you to know about in regards to prostate health is something called “genistein.”
Genistein is a plant estrogen that could slow cell growth and could even prevent the spread of tumors. Cancer cells need blood vessels to grow and spread. Chemotherapy is based in part on stopping blood vessel growth in cancer cells. Genistein also has this ability. It has been shown to halt blood vessel growth in tumors. One study published in “Nutrition and Cancer” found that genistein inhibited cell growth and triggered cell death in prostate cancer cells.