Prostate Cancer Patients May Face Greater Problems Than the Cancer Itself

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quitting smokingAn important piece of health news says that. for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is often not the tumor that will lead to death. In fact, these men are more likely to suffer fates from preventable conditions such as heart disease. This leads to important health advice for anyone who finds themselves in this position.

PLUS: Scientists Zero in on Prostate Cancer Cause

The study, out of Harvard University, is the largest study to date that looks at how men with prostate cancer die. The positive news to emerge is that making healthy lifestyle changes can play a big role in managing the disease, and living longer.

One in six men develops this disease, making it the most common form of cancer in America. While incidences of the disease have increased, death rates due to prostate cancer have fallen in Western countries. This has much to do with earlier detection, and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This has led to more men diagnosed with lower-risk forms of the disease.

The new study looked at two huge registries of data totaling 700,000 men over 40 years or so in Sweden and the U.S. During this time, prostate cancer accounted for 52% of all reported deaths in Sweden and 30% of reported deaths in the U.S. among men with prostate cancer. But, only 35% of Swedish men and 16% of U.S. men diagnosed with prostate cancer died from the actual disease.

In fact, risk of death from heart disease was the same as that of the cancer in their bodies. The study showed that healthy lifestyle changes such as shedding pounds, exercising more, and quitting smoking may in fact be more important — all things considering — than treatment for prostate cancer.

The takeaway message from this study is actually very important. A diagnosis of cancer, in this day and age, does not necessarily mean a death sentence. What is more of a death sentence is no longer looking after your health, and putting your heart in jeopardy. Eat right, exercise regularly — this mantra becomes even more important when your body is faced with a serious condition it must fend off.