A PSA for Men about Your Prostate and Your PSA

The current issue of AARP, the Magazine featured an informative and entertaining article, “Interview With a Prostate: The Misunderstood Gland“.

I know, it’s hard to imagine an article about the prostate gland being entertaining, but it was a clever way to share useful information about the prostate that men might actually read.

The article, written by Clint Carter, features an interview between Clint and the prostate of some guy named Joe. To give you a flavor, here’s the opening question and response:

AARP: Tell us about yourself.

Joe’s prostate: I’m a prostate, and I live alone, just in front of Joe’s rectum. What’s to know?

Joe’s prostate then goes on to explain what his function is and how the prostate begins to grow, typically once men reach the age of 35. Once a man reaches the age of 70, there is a 70% chance of having an enlarged prostate, often reaching the size of a lemon.

Joe offers some possible symptoms of an enlarged prostate:

  • A weak or slow urinary stream
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Getting up frequently at night to urinate

Joe’s prostate also shares the important role of diet and exercise in keeping your prostate as healthy as can be:

  • 25 minutes a day of vigorous exercise could cut my advanced cancer risk by a lot.
  • Cut back on coffee. The caffeine can irritate the bladder, and make you want to pee more.
  • In a study of nearly 1,000 men, those who ate the leafiest greens, such as spinach and collards, had a 34 percent lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
  • An analysis of several studies found that guys who ate the most tomatoes — especially cooked tomatoes or tomato sauces — had a lower likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
  • Men in the top fifth of fruit consumers, especially citrus fruits, had a small reduction in risk of prostate cancer, according to research from the University of Oxford and elsewhere.
  • Consuming large amounts of saturated fats was linked to a 51 percent increase in the likelihood of having an aggressive prostate cancer at diagnosis.
  • In a large meta-analysis, researchers found that unfermented soy foods such as soy milk, tofu, and edamame were associated with a 35 percent lower cancer risk.

Joe talks about how his enlarged prostate is being managed successfully through the use of a pill as opposed to surgery.

Perhaps the biggest fear surrounding the prostate is cancer, which is the second most common form of cancer among men, after skin cancer. One of the tests for prostate cancer is the PSA test, which has seen its fair share of controversy. Joe’s prostate recommends that men get a PSA test at least once a year, and if you start to have the symptoms noted above, more frequently.

The one good thing about prostate cancer is that even if you are diagnosed with it, the cancer usually progresses quite slowly and thus there may never be a need for surgery.

I’ve written in a previous post about the test I had to endure as part of the screening process for prostate issues, and if a little bit of exercise and some basic diet changes can help me avoid such a test in the future (and an enlarged prostate, and prostate cancer), then count me in.