prostrate cancerThe body is made up of trillions of living cells. Normal body cells grow, divide into new cells, and die in an orderly way. During the early years of a person?s life, normal cells divide faster to allow the person to grow. After the person becomes an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries.

Cancer starts when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.

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Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade (grow into) other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do. Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell.

Cells become cancer cells because of damage to DNA. DNA is in every cell and directs all its actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA isn?t repaired, and the cell doesn?t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body doesn?t need. These new cells all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does.

People can inherit damaged DNA, but most DNA damage is caused by mistakes that happen while the normal cell is reproducing or by something in our environment. Sometimes the cause of the DNA damage is something obvious, like cigarette smoking. But often no clear cause is found.

In most cases the cancer cells form a tumor, also called a mass or a lump. Some cancers, like leukemia, rarely form tumors. Instead, these cancers involve the blood and blood-forming organs, and the cancer cells circulate through other tissues where they grow.

Cancer cells often travel to other parts of the body, where they begin to grow and form tumors that replace normal tissue. This process is called metastasis (meh-tas-tuh-sis). It happens when the cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph vessels of our body.

?Every day, our bodies fight off cancer, because our Natural Killer cells ? or NKs ? instantly recognize cancer cells as alien, and destroy them,? Professor Smyth said.

?But we?ve discovered that NKs have the CD96 protein on their surface, and this protein stops NKs from being overactivated. Essentially, the cancer hijacks this process to prevent immune recognition and activation, allowing the cancer to spread through the body.?

SO What if I told you that each and every one on this earth has Cancer cells in their bodies, but not all of us would actually get cancer? And what if I told you that each person controls a large part of their own likelihood of getting cancer or not?

 

?Cancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That?s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check. In the West, one person in four will die of cancer but 3 in four will not,? stated Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, author of the international best seller. So many of us live under the false intuition that cancer is just a game of luck. Faulty genetic makeup only partly determines whether our fate lies hostage to cancer. More important is how our way of life creates an environment for mutated and possibly cancerous cells to grow or not.

All day everyday we are making choices and putting ourselves in environments that will either protect us from getting cancer or will make us more susceptible to the disease. Our eating habits are one of the major factors that will give to cancer growth or cancer starvation and elimination. Three to five times each day we eat meals. That is three to five times a day that we mentally decide what we are putting in our bodies. We need certain nutrients and proteins to function, but sometimes what our bodies need and what our taste buds want don?t exactly align.

Current Western surveys of nutrition show that 56% of our calories come from 3 sources that were nonexistent when our genes were developing. Those calories are, refined sugars (cane and beet sugar, corn syrup, etc.), bleached flour (white bread, white pasta, etc.), and vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn and trans fats). Funny enough, none of these 3 sources contain any of the proteins, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies require to function, however, the one thing that they do nurture is cancerous cells.

So we know that foods can contribute to cancer cell growth but certain foods can also give cause to cancer death and prevention. This was first discovered when researchers noticed a significant difference in cancer rates in the West compared to Eastern nations. One of the major differences between these two groups of people was their food and beverage consumption.

In the East, the second most consumed beverage following water is green tea. Soon research uncovered that chemicals in green tea were capable of blocking angiogenesis (growing tumors need a large blood supply), using the same mechanisms as existing medication. This in turn pointed researchers to foods and nutrition as methods of cancer treatment and prevention. Soon after, they came up with the ?it? list for foods that fight cancer. These are among the more important: various kinds of cabbage, broccoli, garlic, soy, green tea, turmeric, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes and dark chocolate (as long as it?s at least 70% cocoa).

You might be wondering what makes these foods so special. Well, ?in nature when confronted with aggressions, vegetables can neither fight nor flee. To survive they must be armed with powerful molecules capable of defending them against bacteria, insects and bad weather. These molecules are phytochemical compounds with antimicrobial, antifungal and insecticide properties,? said Servan-Schreiber.

 

Those properties are the things that people with cancer need most in order to fight infection and block the cancer cell growth highways. If people with, or without cancer, can arm their bodies with the correct nutrients for healthy cell growth and mutated cell destruction, then they are well on their way to living the anti cancer lifestyle.

I have been around for almost 29years of my life and probably you have not heard of me but I tell you prostate cancer amongst black men has become a serious issues and it took my interest to study the first masters program in prostate cancer organized by Sheffield Hallam University inconjuction with Prostate Cancer UK. The prostate cancer UK work in the black community is amazing with more funding and scholarship for health workers working with men affected by prostate cancer. With my experience and what I have leant so far and the practice based in the UK , I came to conclusion that the medical people and especially the urologist in Ghana are not doing enough to wage war on prostate cancer? and have fail the citizens.

When the US Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) made their startling recommendation against screening for prostate cancer in the US there was a widespread outcry from prostate cancer doctors and patients. Resistance was especially strong among black prostate cancer survivors and the doctors who care for them, arguing that the scientific studies that led to the USPSTF recommendation did not include many black men. Is this simply another case of “political correctness?” Isn’t prostate cancer colorblind? Doesn’t cancer behave the same in all men, regardless of race?

In reality there are a number of differences in how prostate cancer impacts black men compared to men of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Black men are 60% more likely than white men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and are more than twice as likely to die from the disease. Black men are also diagnosed at a younger age (about 3 years younger on average) and are more likely to have “high grade” tumors – the kind of tumors that grow rapidly, spread to other parts of the body, and often cause death. Research has given us some insights on why these differences exist and what they mean for black men who face decisions about prostate cancer screening and treatment.

On a basic level, prostate cancer is caused by changes in the DNA of a prostate cell. In recent years, scientists have made great progress in understanding how certain changes in DNA can cause normal prostate cells to grow abnormally and form cancers. DNA is the chemical that makes up our genes, the instructions for nearly everything our cells do. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. However, DNA affects more than how we look.

Some genes control when our cells grow, divide into new cells, and die. Certain genes that tell cells to grow and divide are called oncogenes. Others that normally slow down cell division or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes. Cancer can be caused in part by DNA changes (mutations) that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes.

DNA changes can either be inherited from a parent or can be acquired during a person’s lifetime.

 

 

Inherited DNA mutations

Researchers have found that inherited DNA changes in certain genes may cause about 5% to 10% of prostate cancers.

Several mutated genes have been found that may be responsible for a man’s inherited tendency to develop prostate cancer. One of these is called HPC1 (Hereditary Prostate Cancer Gene 1). But there are many other gene mutations that may account for some cases of hereditary prostate cancer. None of these is a major cause, and more research on these genes is being done. Genetic tests are not yet available.

Men with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene changes may also have an increased prostate cancer risk. Mutations in these genes more commonly cause breast and ovarian cancer in women. But inherited BRCA changes probably account for only a very small number of prostate cancers.

DNA mutations acquired during a man’s lifetime

Most DNA mutations related to prostate cancer seem to develop during a man’s life rather than having been inherited. Every time a cell prepares to divide into 2 new cells, it must copy its DNA. This process is not perfect, and sometimes errors occur, leaving flawed DNA in the new cell.

It is not clear how often these DNA changes might be random events, and how often they may be influenced by other factors (diet, hormone levels, etc.). In general, the more quickly prostate cells grow and divide the more chances there are for mutations to occur. Therefore, anything that speeds up this process may make prostate cancer more likely.

The development of prostate cancer may be linked to increased levels of certain hormones. High levels of androgens (male hormones, such as testosterone) promote prostate cell growth, and may contribute to prostate cancer risk in some men.

Some researchers have noted that men with high levels of another hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), are more likely to get prostate cancer. IGF-1 is similar to insulin, but it affects cell growth, not sugar metabolism. However, other studies have not found a link between IGF-1 and prostate cancer. Further research is needed to make sense of these findings.

Some studies have found that inflammation may contribute to prostate cancer. One theory is that inflammation may lead to cell DNA damage, which might in turn push a cell closer to becoming cancerous. More research in this area is needed.

Exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals may cause DNA mutations in many organs of the body, but these factors have not been proven to be important causes of mutations in prostate cells.

What exactly are the causes of prostate cancer among black men?

 

A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer .Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.

But risk factors don’t tell us everything. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.

We don’t yet completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, but researchers have found several factors that might change the risk of getting it. For some of these factors, the link to prostate cancer risk is not yet clear.

We do not know exactly what causes prostate cancer. But researchers have found some risk factors and are trying to learn just how these factors cause prostate cells to become cancerous. Causes of prostate cancer are not known, but experts have identified certain risk factors. Like other cancers, prostate cancer is believed to develop in two steps. During step one, the cells are exposed to factors, such as viruses or toxins, which cause or trigger the unusual or uncontrolled cell growth. During step two, other factors such as diet, hormones, lifestyle and environmental influences promote the growth and development of the abnormal cells and could be causes of prostate cancer.

Certain factors such as age, ethnicity and genetics cannot be influenced however there are a number of lifestyle, nutrition and other factors that can form part of a program to help both prevent prostate cancer and to maximize your recovery and long term wellness in the event you are diagnosed with the disease. Maintaining maximum prostate health is about both reducing your risk factors as well as providing your body with maximum immunity through preventative wellness.

AGE

Just being on the planet for 65 years or longer is considered to be the strongest risk factor for causes of prostate cancer. That?s the age group in which more than 60 percent of prostate cancers show up. (American Cancer Society) Since there?s nothing you can do about this risk factor, concentrate on those that you can control such as lifestyle, nutrition and exercise as well as maintaining a positive, stress and toxin free environment as well as other factors

Ethnicity, namely African-American Men

 

Compared with white men, African-American men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer in their early 50s and twice as likely to die of the disease . (American Cancer Society) They are also more likely to be in an advanced stage of the disease when diagnosed. (Winterich 2009) On the other end of the spectrum, Asian-Americans and Hispanic/Latino men are less likely to develop prostate cancer than are non-Hispanic white men. (American Cancer Society)

What makes African American men so susceptible to prostate cancer? There are several possible reasons:

 

Genetics: Differences in the androgen (male hormone) receptor genes related to the prostate may play a role. (Platz 2000) . Prostate cancer is caused by changes in the DNA of healthy prostate cells . DNA makes up genes and is inherited from one?s parents. About 5 to 10 percent of prostate cancers are linked to these inherited changes, while other changes in DNA occur during a man?s lifetime. Several gene mutations have been found to be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, including one called HPC1 (Hereditary Prostate Cancer Gene 1). Researchers have also found some inherited genes that may increase the risk of prostate cancer, but they are believed to account for only a small percentage of cases. (American Cancer Society) Half of prostate cancers have a genomic rearrangement that causes two genes called TMPRSS2 and ERG to fuse together. This genetic fusion, which is believed to trigger the development of prostate cancer, occurs in about half of prostate cancers. Researchers are working on a way to target this genetic anomaly with a new class of anticancer drugs. (Brenner 2011)

 

 

Environment: Blacks living in Africa have a lower rate of prostate cancer and death related to prostate cancer than do African-Americans. This gives researchers reason to suggest that African-Americans may be exposed to dietary habits, chemicals, or other factors which, when combined with genetic changes, increase the risk for prostate cancer among African-Americans compared to white men. But in a new research by the Prostate Cancer UK put black men risk factors to 1 in 4(Prostate Cancer UK 2013) which involve Africa men

 

Medical care: Prostate cancers are less likely to be detected in the early stages among African-Americans because research shows they are generally less likely to have health insurance and have less access to health care.

 

Mistrust: Research has shown that African-American men are less trustful of their physicians than are white men, less likely to see the same doctor each time they go a visit or care, and less likely to be screened for prostate cancer. (Carpenter 2009)

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Family History

If your father or brother had or has prostate cancer, you are more than twice as likely to develop the disease. Your risk is ever greater if you have more than one close relative with prostate cancer. (American Cancer Society). Research shows that approximately 10% of prostate cancer cases are hereditary.

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Diet

Men who typically consume foods that promote inflammation and contain cancer-promoting substances; that is, a high-fat diet, lots of red meat, and one that is low in fiber, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men who do not eat these foods . Calcium, dairy and other foods and additives have also been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer and men whose diets are low in certain nutrients and foods such as lycopene, omega 3, vitamin D, antioxidants and other cancer killers have also been shown to have a higher risk of prostate cancer. In addition, according to the World Health Organization ?diet might influence prostate cancer risk by affecting hormone levels.?

 

Lifestyle and exercise

Men who are physically inactive are more likely to develop prostate cancer and other prostate disease. A study published in November 2009 reported that men who regularly engaged in moderate exercise appeared to have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. (Antonelli 2009)

 

Exposure to chemicals

Exposure to chemicals is possibly one of the causes of prostate cancer. Studies show that men who work in certain occupations (e.g., tire plant workers, farmers, painters) are more likely to get prostate cancer. This is believed to be related to their exposure to chemicals. A 2009 study, for example, found a two-fold increased risk of prostate cancer among farmers who were exposed to pesticides compared with farmers who were not exposed. (Parent 2009) It?s also been estimated that 90 percent of people in the United States have detectable levels of BPA toxin in their bodies. BPA has been associated with various health problems, including an increased risk of cancer, including prostate cancer.

 

Testosterone

Research indicates that elevated levels of the male hormone testosterone may be a risk factor and one of the causes of prostate cancer, as this hormone is part of the process in encouraging prostate growth. However, while testosterone has a major role in prostate cancer, it is an imbalance of hormones?including testosterone?and not the hormone alone that is of the most concern in the development of prostate cancer.

 

Inflammation

The presence of inflammation as a risk factor is a relatively new theory. Inflammation may contribute to the development of prostate cancer by damaging cellular DNA and encouraging normal prostate cells to become cancerous. (American Cancer Society) In fact, an increasing amount of research points to the major role inflammation plays not only in causes of prostate cancer but other serious diseases as well.

 

Obesity

Most health experts agree that obesity is linked to prostate cancer and can have an impact in several areas, yet they are not sure why this is so. Some possible reasons are that obese men tend to have lower testosterone levels, higher (or relatively so) estrogen levels, elevated levels of insulin-growth factor (which might spur the cancer on), and greater amounts of saturated fats in their diet (which can encourage cancer growth). Men who are overweight also are more likely to have type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, both of which may be associated with prostate cancer.

 

Why black men my people?

Genetic factors may be part of the explanation

A number of genes have been identified in black men that are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer and with high grade tumors. However, none of these gene differences is found in the majority of black prostate cancer patients, so their role remains a mystery.

 

Socio-economic factors make a huge difference

Differences in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment account for a significant portion of the gap in death rates between blacks and whites, and both are heavily impacted by health insurance.? Black men are less likely than whites to have insurance. Uninsured men have lower rates of screening for prostate cancer, are less likely to see a health care professional quickly for further tests if they have abnormal screening results, and are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease (cancer that has spread outside of the prostate gland, is more difficult to treat and more likely to cause death). Studies of blacks and whites in the military, where men have equal access to health care services, have shown that this equal access gets rid of most (but not all) of the death rate gap.

Education level also may contribute to the excess burden of prostate cancer in black men. “Shared decision making” is an approach used to help patients understand the various options available for their care and to assist them in making decisions that are right for them. This is particularly important in prostate cancer, where men often can choose between several types of effective treatment.

Studies have shown that shared decision making is much less likely to take place when patients have low levels of education, and black men on average have lower educational levels than white men. There is evidence that they don’t receive all the information to begin with, or they may not understand it in the way it’s presented. That means they may not be fully aware of the possible consequences of treatment and end up regretting their choice.

 

‘Race-specific’ evidence missing

Even when information is shared, it may not be complete or accurate information – at least as it relates to black men. The overwhelming majority of published prostate cancer research studies include few (if any) black men as subjects.? This means that decisions on prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment in black men is based largely on what is known about how the disease behaves in white men.

 

What black men currently can do?

So what can black men and their health care professionals do right now?? The advice is the same for black men as for all other men: they must learn all that they can about the benefits, limitations, and uncertainties surrounding screening and treatment for prostate cancer.? Because of their higher risk and the fact that the disease hits black men earlier, the American? Cancer Society and other organizations recommend that a discussion about prostate cancer screening begin at age 45 for black men (and at age 50 for men at average risk). Screening and treatment discussions with black men should include their higher risk of developing prostate cancer and dying from it than other men in the US, and acknowledge the things we don’t know related to screening and treatment.? Men should then weigh this information in light of their own values and preferences, and make a decision about screening or treatment that is right for them. ?But is Ghana currently doing enough for prostate cancer awareness and screening for Ghanaian men? Well the question for me is BIG NO!

Some people get cancer and some don’t, even though they may live very similar lives.

Dr. Oz recently aired a show in which he revealed the facts about some cancer mis-information that is commonly accepted when in fact knowing the truth may save our lives.? Dr. Oz, along with guest medical professionals, explains some interesting things about cancer that we may have been mis-informed. Like? We don?t get cancer. We already have cancer cells growing inside us. We provoke cancer.?? How many of us think cancer is not contagious. Well, it seems some cancers can be contagious!? Cancer genes can be passed to you not only from your mother?s side of the family but from your father?s also! How can knowing the truth save our lives?

As Dr. Oz explained that when you know the truth and you know your risks, you can take advantage of the kinds of foods and activities that are known to be essential to prevent cancer from developing or to catch it early for cure.? His three guest medical experts explain these facts?

We don?t get cancer. We provoke cancer.? Dr. William Li, MD, Cancer Researcher, President and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation say that every single person absolutely has microscopic cancers growing inside them. He explains that human body is made up of more than 50 trillion cells that are continuously dividing to keep us healthy. But if just one of those cells makes a mistake or ?mutates? than presto! We have formed a potentially microscopic cancer. The good news is that most of these abnormal cells will never become dangerous because our bodies have excellent defenses against cancer. Our immune system is one defense and another defense is our body?s ability to resist blood vessels from growing into and feeding cancers.

So, what causes these harmless microscopic cancers to develop into full blown cancer? Dr. Li says doing things that provoke the development of cancer!? Like getting too much sun and exposure to cigarette smoke, first or secondhand. Excessive alcohol and too much processed meats. The body has a hard time digesting the preservatives and nitrates in processed foods and they actually accumulate in our bodies becoming carcinogen. Anything that dwells in the body that can provoke cancer cells is bad for you.

But on the other hand, as Dr. Li explains, we can actually add things to our life that can boost our body?s cancer defense systems. Like exercise and getting enough restorative sleep. And eating foods that contain anti-angiogenic properties (starving cancer cells) like fruits and vegetables with high nutrient and antioxidant compounds.

BY: ?RAPHAEL OBU.

ALT .Dr. (Registered and License Alternative Medicine Practitioner, TMPC Ghana)

MSC PROSTATE CANCER

SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY, UK

CEO: MEN?S HEALTH FOUNDATION GHANA & DE MEN?S CLINIC

DODOWA-AKOTO HOUSE

TEL: 0541090045

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