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A few days ago the country lost veteran photographer Alf Kumalo, to prostate cancer. With that in mind, the month of Movember is a good time to raise awareness of the ailment.
Dr Oz, TV personality and cardiothoracic surgeon (and Oprah’s pal, if you like), will give us some info on the subject on his show.
For those who do not know, Movember, or the month of November, is when men grow their moustaches to raise aware- ness and funds for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.
As a leader in health matters and a public figure, Dr Oz feels there is need to spread the word that prevention is better than cure. In the case of prostrate cancer one needs to know that drinking 235ml of pomegranate juice daily has a significant effect on lowering the chances of getting the disease. It has to be noted, however, that this is not a cure.
Dr Oz took time to answer some questions you might have about prostrate cancer. So men, listen up, you will want to read this.
The first concern that many people link prostate cancer with is sexuality, the same way we do with sexually transmitted diseases. Dr Oz shed some light on this this issue
“The number of sexual partners you have may increase your risk of prostate cancer because it increases your potential exposure to infections. The number of ejaculations you have, however, does not,” he said.
So the message is that you are still better off protected when engaging in sexual activities and when you do not protect yourself, HIV is not the only thing you need to worry about.
“Prostate cancer is at the stage where cervical cancer was some 20 years ago. We knew then that cervical cancer was correlated with the number of sexual partners a women had, and now we know it is caused by a virus [and can be reduced substantially by a vaccine]. We may eventually discover that there is a virus associated with prostate cancer as well,” he said.
I know talk of this kind brings a dark cloud over many a face, but it has to be done. HIV/Aids would have not ravaged the planet had we spoken about them from day one. That said, there is some good news, well, at least for those who play by the rules.
“Conversely [and to boost survival of the species, we think], mutually monogamous sex three times a week is reported to be associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer,” explained the good doctor.
Let’s say you can’t find the pomegranate juice that was mentioned earlier – there are other day-to-day things you can use to lower your chances of getting prostate cancer.
“Research has shown that the risk of developing prostate cancer is as much as 45 percent lower in men who frequently eat foods that contain cooked tomatoes or tomato paste. For one, men who eat cooked tomato products 10 or more times a week have a 35 to 45 percent reduction in severe forms of prostate cancer compared with men who eat tomato products less than twice a week,” he revealed.
And yes, like many men I do not like my vegetables, but you can’t dice with life over the preferences of the tongue.
“Spaghetti sauce is the optimal food because it’s cooked and you need to eat a little fat to absorb the lycopene. But go light on the meatballs. Saturated fat has been linked to the increase and growth of prostate cancer cells,” he said.
Then the subject moved to colorectal cancer, which is believed to be the fourth most common cancer in the US. This cancer affects the colon and rectum and predominantly men who are 50 years or older.
“Symptoms of colon cancer include blood in the stool, narrower stools, a change in bowel habits, and general stomach discomfort,” said Dr Oz. He urged men to get colon cancer screenings once every decade from the time they turn 50.
• The Dr Oz Show airs Monday to Thursday at 3.45pm on SABC3.