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Prostate Cancer 101

Obviously, I'm a huge advocate of practicing yoga. It has so many benefits for your body and mind. That being said, I'm all about balance. I love to compliment my yoga practice with weight training and cardio as well. I recently started exercising with an awesome personal trainer Allan Alguire (he trained actress Jennifer Lawrence for Hunger Games and X-Men!!), and not only are his workouts amazing, but he has over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry that I want to share with my readers. The "My Personal Trainer" articles will be a regular series on my blog where Allan will be sharing his expertise in the areas of Body, Health, Life and Diet - enjoy!

21,300 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. This represents 21% of all new cancer cases in men in 2017. Getting the facts before being diagnosed makes it possible to face prostate cancer head on. Here is what men should know before going in for a prostate examination.

What causes prostate cancer?

Despite all of the advances of modern science, it is unknown what exactly causes prostate cancer. However, a number of risk factors are known. Increased age, family history of prostate cancer, and lack of exercise all seem to be tied to a diagnosis of this common cancer.

Can prostate cancer be prevented?

Some risk factors, such as age and a family history of prostate cancer, can't be changed. Those that can be modified included should. By getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet complete with fruits and vegetables today, men may reduce their likelihood of a diagnosis of prostate cancer later in life. Studies are currently ongoing to determine if Vitamin E or selenium aid in preventing prostate cancer.

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

A couple of simple, annual tests are used to aid in the detection of prostate cancer.

1. During a digital rectal examination (DRE), a physician manually feels for abnormalities in the prostate through the rectum. Any growths alert the physician that cancer may be present.

2. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is a simple blood test that requires a small sample of blood to be taken from the prostate. The blood is then sent to a laboratory and tested for elevated levels of PSA, a chemical that can be an indicator of prostate cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends men undergo both tests beginning at age 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer-particularly men with family members who were diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age-are often recommended to undergo DRE and PSA testing prior to turning 50.

What if the test comes back positive?

Like many medical tests, DRE and PSA are not foolproof. Though both tests are beneficial in detecting potential cancers, there is the potential for a "false positive" result. This occurs when a DRE or PSA indicates cancer when no cancer is actually present.

For a definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer, a biopsy is needed. A small amount of tissue is removed from the prostate for laboratory tests. The results of this test are the only way to determine whether cancer is actually present.

What treatment options are available for prostate cancer?

Today, an array of treatment is available. Here are a few of them.

Watchful waiting is exactly what it sounds like-keeping track of prostate cancer's growth and not beginning treatment unless it metastasizes (spreads) or begins causing symptoms, such as difficulty or pain during urination or lower back pain. Since prostate cancer is typically a very slow-moving cancer that causes no symptoms whatsoever, this is an ideal option for men who want to avoid the cost and inconvenience often associated with other treatments.

Prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate. Depending on the extent of cancer and the choice of the patient, the entire prostate can be removed (radical prostatectomy) or just the region affected by the cancer (partial prostatectomy).

External radiation therapy involves using a machine to shoot radioactive beams at the cancerous area. This requires multiple visits to a radiation therapy center and is considered inconvenient by many men.

Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, is a less invasive radiation therapy option. Small, radioactive pellets are inserted in the prostate and destroy the cancerous cells as the individual goes about his day.

- Author: Allan Alguire, End Result Fitness

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