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Prostate Cancer: Screening and methods for prevention

Prostate Cancer: Screening and methods for prevention
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By: Dr. Gaurav Garg

Prostate gland enlarges with age. In a substantial proportion of these cases this enlargement may be due to cancer. Prostate cancer mainly affects older men.

Prostate cancer screening involves the use of tests and examinations to detect the presence of prostate cancer in men, even before symptoms appear. The goal of screening is to identify prostate cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be effective. While there are different screening methods available, the two most common approaches are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal examination (DRE).

The PSA test measures the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland, in the blood. Elevated PSA levels can indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but they can also be caused by other conditions like prostate enlargement or inflammation. The DRE involves a physical examination of the prostate gland through the rectum to check for any abnormal lumps or irregularities.

It’s important to note that the decision to undergo prostate cancer screening should be made based on an individual’s age, risk factors, and overall health. Screening may have benefits for some men, particularly those with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, but it also carries potential risks such as false-positive results, leading to unnecessary invasive procedures or anxiety.

In terms of preventive tips for prostate cancer, here are some general recommendations:

Maintain a healthy diet: Consume a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit the intake of processed foods, red meat, and high-fat dairy products.

Stay physically active: Engage in regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. If you are overweight, try to lose weight through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise.

Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol intake has been associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer. It is advisable to moderate alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.

Don’t smoke: Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer, including prostate cancer. If you smoke, seek help to quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Talk to your doctor: Discuss your individual risk factors and screening options with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your age, family history, and overall health.

Remember, early detection through screening and adopting a healthy lifestyle can play a significant role in reducing the risk of prostate cancer or improving outcomes if it is diagnosed.

(The author is Consultant – Urology, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi)

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