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MOVEMBER

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It’s not too late to start growing a moustache for November as a
during November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world. With their “Mo’s” men raise vital funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health. As an independent global charity, Movember’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.
http://uk.movember.com/about/

On this occasion I will focus on prostatic cancer, which a very dear friend of mine died of five years ago and unfortunately presented with very late symptoms of back pain. It became worse after doing a sponsored walk along the coastline of Wales in aid of the Church of Wales Children’s Society. This illustrated how it can present with few symptoms.
He was a man of great fortitude, intellect and humour and my memories are of laughter and fascinating intellectual discussions.

What is the prostate?
Men have a small gland about the size of a walnut called the prostate imagegland. The prostate surrounds the first part of the tube (urethra) which carries urine from the bladder to the penis. The same tube also carries sex fluid (semen). The prostate gland is divided into 2 lobes, to the left and the right of a central groove.

The prostate gland produces a thick clear fluid which is an important part of the semen. The growth and function of the prostate depends on the male sex hormone testosterone, which is produced in the testes. Some treatments for prostate cancer work by lowering the levels of testosterone.

Symptoms of non cancerous and cancerous prostate conditions
As men get older their prostate gland often enlarges. This is usually not due to cancer. It is a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The symptoms of growths in the prostate are similar whether they are non cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
The symptoms include:-

  • Having to rush to the toilet to pass urine
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Blood in the urine or semen

The last two symptoms – pain and bleeding – are very rare in prostate cancer. They are more often a symptom of non cancerous prostate conditions.

It is important to realise though, that very early prostate cancer generally does not cause any symptoms at all.
If a tumour is not large enough to put much pressure on the tube that carries urine out of the body (the urethra), you may not notice any effects from it.
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Other symptoms of prostate cancer
Cancer of the prostate gland often grows slowly, especially in older men. Symptoms may be mild and occur over many years. Sometimes the first symptoms are from prostate cancer cells which have spread to your bones but this is not common. Cancer cells in the bone may cause pain in your

  • Back
  • Hips
  • Pelvis
  • Other bony areas

Cancer that has spread to other areas of the body is called metastatic or secondary prostate cancer. In this section there is information about the treatment of prostate cancer that has spread.

Other symptoms that may occur are weight loss, particularly in elderly men, and difficulty getting an erection (where you haven’t had difficulty before).

We as GP’s have guidelines that tell them the symptoms to look out for, and when we should send you to a specialist for tests. The guidelines say that men who have symptoms that could be due to prostate cancer should be offered.
PSA testing
PSA stands for prostate specific antigen. This is a substance made by normal and cancerous prostate cells and released into the bloodstream. The level of PSA in your blood may go up in prostate cancer because more PSA leaks into the bloodstream from the cancerous cells. PSA levels also go up as you get older and if you have a benign (non cancerous) enlarged prostate. So the PSA test is not a specific test for cancer. There is a range of normal PSA readings for every age group. The upper normal limit for a man aged 50 is around 3.0 ng/ml but this increases to 5.0 ng/ml if you are 70.
This is not done aaa a routine screening test due to the non specificity of the test.

If your PSA level is slightly raised (a borderline result), the guidelines say you should have another PSA test in 1 to 3 months time. The second test checks if the PSA is going up or is staying the same.

If you have a suspicious PSA reading and other symptoms that could be related to prostate cancer, the guidelines say your GP should consider referring you to a specialist for an appointment within 2 weeks.

Your GP may decide to delay doing a PSA test sometimes. There are a few situations that can affect the reading and make it less accurate – for example, if you have a urine infection. A test should be delayed for a month after you’ve had treatment for a urine infection.

Rectal examination
Your GP puts a gloved finger into your back passage (rectum) to feel your prostate gland and check for abnormal signs, such as a lumpy, hard prostate. Doctors call this test a digital rectal examination (DRE).

Screening for men at higher risk of prostate cancer
There is some evidence to show that prostate cancer can run in families. This means that if a relative has been diagnosed with prostate cancer your risk is higher than in the general population. The risk is higher if it is:-

  • Your brother who was diagnosed
  • The relative was younger than 60
  • You have several relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer

If your GP suspects a cancerous prostate gland an urgent 2week referral can be made but if you have any concerns you must inform your GP As soon as possible in order that more detailed tests can be performed as outlined in the following link:-

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/type/prostate-cancer/diagnosis/prostate-cancer-tests

GROW YOUR MOUSTACHE AND BECOME AWARE OF PROSTATE CANCER

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http://prostatecanceruk.org/?ui=pc

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Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Training and Advice

 

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A TREASURE OF RICHES

What better way of eating tomatoes but by picking them straight from the vine and immediately devouring them especially when they are grown without any chemical intervention. The next best is slicing them and topping them with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil, light seasoning and eating them as a starter or snack. image Anyone can grow tomatoes on a windowsill, on a balcony or in a garden and after careful nurturing you also can have that pleasure. When I bought my plants I was advised by an elderly couple who were buying a plant each to put on their windowsill. I was surprised when I ended up with a red variety and a yellow variety. But research showed me that the yellow variety is richer in antioxidants than the red. image Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that has long been associated with the deep red colour of many tomatoes. A small preliminary study on healthy men and women has shown that the lycopene from orange- and tangerine-colored tomatoes may actually be better absorbed than the lycopene from red tomatoes. This is because the lycopene in deep red tomatoes is mostly trans-lycopene, and the lycopene in orange/tangerine tomatoes is mostly tetra-cis-lycopene. In a recent study, this tetra-cis form of lycopene turned out to be more efficiently absorbed by the study participants. image

I didn’t realise the antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but according to a study carried out whereby Lycopene was withdrawn from postmenopausal women’s diet for 4 weeks and after this short period of time there were increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue implying that tomato lycopene (and other tomato antioxidants) may have a special role to play in preventing osteoporosis.

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Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood – a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. Dietary intake of tomatoes, consumption of tomato extracts, and supplementation with tomato phytonutrients (like lycopene) have all been shown to improve the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been shown to result in decreased total cholesterol, decreased LDL cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels. It’s also been shown to decrease accumulation of cholesterol molecules inside of macrophage cells. (Macrophage cells are a type of white blood cell that gets called into action when oxidative stress in the bloodstream gets too high, and the activity of macrophages—including their accumulation of cholesterol—is a prerequisite for development of atherosclerosis.)

imageAnti-Cancer Benefits

Tomatoes have repeatedly been show to provide us with anti-cancer benefits. The track record for tomatoes as a cancer-protective food should not be surprising, since there is a very large amount of research on tomato antioxidants and a more limited but still important amount of research on tomato anti-inflammatory nutrients. Risk for many cancer types starts out with chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. For this reason, foods that provide us with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support are often foods that show cancer prevention properties.

image Prostate cancer is by far the best-researched type of cancer in relationship to tomato intake. The jury verdict here is clear: tomatoes can definitely help lower risk of prostate cancer in men. One key tomato nutrient that has received special focus in prostate cancer prevention is alpha-tomatine. Alpha-tomatine is a saponin phytonutrient and it’s shown the ability to alter metabolic activity in developing prostate cancer cells. It’s also been shown to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in prostate cancer cells that have already been fully formed. Research on alpha-tomatine has also been conducted for non-small cell lung cancer, with similar findings. Along with prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer are the two best-studied areas involving tomatoes and cancer risk. Research on tomatoes and breast cancer risk has largely focused on the carotenoid lycopene, and there is fairly well documented risk reduction for breast cancer in association with lycopene intake.

In multiple studies other health benefits associated when tomatoes included in the diet include reduced risk of some neurological diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease). Tomato-containing diets have also been linked in a few studies with reduced risk of obesity and age-related macular degeneration.
And it could boost the skins ability to protect itself against UV rays.

I think that covers many of the dreaded diseases we all fear so tomatoes eaten raw or cooked in many different ways are a must in our diet.
That’s why before leaving my garden to return to London I harvested the ripe tomatoes and those I didn’t dry in the sun I roasted in the oven with garlic, fresh basil, seasoning then whizzed the mixture in a food mixer, stored in the freezer to make a sauce ready for soups and sauces to welcome me on my return.
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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Training and Advice

 

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