With Father’s day here to remind us just how much we care about our dads, we thought we’d take a look at an issue related to men.
Prostrate cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in men, in both in America and the UK.
The prostrate is part of male reproductive system and responsible for making seminal fluid
which turns out to be partly responsible for… you guessed it. Creating you and everyone else
but with time and age the cells in the prostrate like any other cells can pick up defects, which lead to Cancer.
Now, your body and everything in it including the prostrate is made up of cells
normal behaving cells go through the cell cycle in which they grow and divide into duplicate cells through a process known as Mitosis
but instead of just duplicating uncontrollably there are numerous measures along the way
to make sure these cells are healthy, functioning normally and replicating at a controlled rate.
For example, cells not only receive growth signals, they actually receive anti-growth signals to tell them stop growing altogether
on top of this cells actually have a limited replicative capacity, meaning the more they replicate
the less chance they have to do it again.
Finally cells are generally localised to an area in the body and require Angiogenesis or blood vessel creation
To sustain their life and bring them nutrients, move this cell away from this and they can’t survive
Any cells that aren’t following these rules or that are old and worn out are often removed by a process known as Apoptosis
Apoptotis is the controlled destruction or break down of the cells by the body
But every now and then, a mutation or error may occur which changes the cell’s properties
For example, it may pick up the ability to ignore anti-growth signals in one generation
and later down the line, one of these cells may mutate to be able to avoid Apoptosis.
These mutations are random and happen by chance
but it’s the combination of a few of them that, in the end, leads to fast-growing, uncontrollably duplicating, immortalised masses of cells.
Also known as Cancer.
Which explains why the older you are, the more likely you are to get Prostate Cancer
because your cells have had many more chances to pick up multiple mutations
through many generations of cells.
This is one of the reasons that about 80% of men will get Prostate Cancer by the time they’re 80.
So is there anything we can do about it?
In some ways, yes.
If we look at Asia, we see some of the lowest Prostate Cancer numbers across the globe.
So we might think it’s genetic and many studies support this
but, interestingly, Asian men who have moved to America show a higher incidence of Prostate Cancer than those in Asia
in proportion to how long they’ve been in America.
On top of this, American born babies of Asian decent have nearly the same incidence of Prostate Cancer as Caucasian babies born in America.
This clearly illustrates that some of the contributing factors must be diet and lifestyle based.
As it turns out, some studies have shown foods like soy, tomatoes and fish may be partly responsible for this decrease
though there is still much debate.
These foods, as well as a few chemicals and medications
all have properties which may aid in normal cell regulation
or prevent cell damage and mutation.
On the other hand, fatty foods have been noted as potential culprits towards many cancers.
At the end of the day, even though there still remains uncertainty surrounding Prostate Cancer
and how to prevent or treat it, education and understanding are or great value.
So instead of giving your Dad a card this Fathers Day
grab a tomato in one hand, some soy in the other and give him the greatest gift in life: Knowledge
because the more we encourage each other to learn and live a healthy and active life
the better off we’ll be
and the more we think about how our concious choices affect our lives now and later
the greater our quality of life can become.
Happy Fathers Day!