Dr Nighat discusses symptoms of prostate cancer
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The drop in cancer screening rates seen during the pandemic could have significant repercussions for cancer survival in coming years. But the prevalence of certain forms of cancer, notably of the prostate, were already on the rise before the pandemic. Prostate cancer is second to skin cancer as the most common form of the disease among men. The disease is often labelled “aggressive” for its ability to spread quickly to neighbouring lymph nodes and organs if left untreated. One telltale sign of the disease may arise during the night.
Urinary problems typically reflect underlying changes in the urethra – the tube that transmits urine from the body to the exterior.
One of the known causes of urination problems is aggressive prostate cancer.
The condition can cause a sudden need to rush to the toilet, or increase the urge to urinate throughout the night.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, nocturia is a condition that causes you to wake up during the night to urinate.
READ MORE: Prostate cancer risk: Five most common causes of prostate cancer – is it hereditary?
Studies have found that severe nocturia occurs in approximately 25 percent of prostate cancer as a side effect of radiation treatment, which can be detrimental to patients’ quality of life.
But the condition can also result from a tumour that is growing in size, pushing against the urethra.
“This can be thought of as nocturnal urinary frequency – having to urinate more often at night”, explains the health body.
Nocturnia typically occurs in the later stages of the disease, warranting prompt treatments.
The NHS notes: “Prostate cancer does not usually cause any symptoms until cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder our of the penis.
“Symptoms of prostate cancer can include needing to pee more frequently, often during the night.”
Early prostate cancer can be difficult to detect due to the absence of blatant symptoms.
According to Prostate Cancer UK, if you are aged 50 or over, your father or brother has had the disease, or you are black, you should speak to your GP.
How to avoid prostate cancer
There is overwhelming evidence that diet is a strong determinant of cancer.
While there is no miracle diet for prostate cancer, there is growing evidence that a plant-based diet may lower the risk of disease and slow its spread.
Researchers probing the connection between dietary habits and cancer have determined that those who eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish are less likely to see their cancer grow to the point of needing treatment.
These foods contain naturally occurring plant compounds known as carotenoids, which could protect the body against DNA damage.
Other studies have found that red-coloured fruits are particularly apt to protect the body against cancer, due to their lycopene content.
In fact, one 2020 study published in Cancer Causes and Control found that cancer-free men who ate canned tomatoes saw their risk of prostate cancer slashed by 28 percent.
Doctor Bradley McGregor, an oncologist with Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said: “The same dietary habits that can lower your risk of prostate cancer can have a similar effect to perhaps slow its spread.
“So, no matter where you are in terms of prostate cancer – from monitoring PSA levels to treating a diagnosis – take the opportunity now to get serious about your diet.”
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