It's Getting Bigger

Did you know that prostate cancer is diagnosed in nearly as many men as breast cancer in women? This number works out to more than 350,000 men annually worldwide. And by age 75, American and European men die of cancer at nearly twice the rate of women.
Many men don’t like to admit it when they fall ill. But taking their health for granted may be hurting them more than they realise. So what are some of the common cancers that men should be alert to?

Prostate cancer

The facts…

  • Prostate cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in the prostate, which is a gland which only men have.
  • At about the size of a walnut, the prostate is found below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that urine goes through to exit the body.
  • A common problem among older men is the enlarging of the prostate. This in itself is often not a problem, but the prostate could grow to such a size that it blocks urine flow through the urethra. This is caused by a condition known as ‘benign prostate hyperplasia’ (BPH). Sometimes, this condition can turn cancerous.

You may have BPH if…

  • You have a weak or hesitant stream when urinating
  • You experience a delay when wanting to begin urinating
  • You feel a need to urinate more frequently
  • You feel a need to urinate more frequently during the night (nocturia)
  • You experience dribbling once you’re done urinating
  • You are unable to control your bladder (incontinence)

Advanced Prostate cancer symptoms include:

  • Experiencing a painful ejaculation
  • Having blood in your urine
  • Experiencing bone pain, especially in the lower back area.

Screen for it with…

  • A trip to your doctor, for a blood test for PSA (prostate specific antigen) and an examination, which includes inserting a gloved finger into the anal cavity and physically feeling the prostate gland.

You are at risk if…

  • You are over 50 years old
  • You have a family history of prostate cancer.
  • You are of African descent.

The course(s) of action are…

  • Active surveillance, which involves watching and waiting. As some prostate cancers grow slowly and only affect older men, they may not be life threatening. In cases like this, the side effects of the cancer (Impotence/Incontinence) are more impactful on your life than the cancer itself. If the cancer starts to get out of hand, action can be taken.
  • Surgery to remove the prostate can be performed, however this can only be done if the cancer is localised. If the cancer is widespread, then other treatments can be used.
  • Radiation treatment by the use of x-rays to destroy the cancerous cells. It is used to treat localised cancer, and can be used alone, or together with surgery. Radiation therapy can reduce the size of the cancer and relieve pain, discomfort and other symptoms.
  • Chemotherapy is usually used only in the later stages of prostate cancer, when the cancer is more widespread and other method of treatments may not be effective.
  • Hormone therapy halts the growth of the cancer by reducing the levels of testosterone in your body. It is used when the cancer has spread, and other treatments haven’t been effective.

Liver Cancer

The facts…

  • There are 2 main types of liver cancer
    - Hepatocellular carcinoma is cancer which originates in the liver.
    - Metastatic liver cancer is cancer that spreads to the liver, originating from other organs such as the stomach, or the lungs.
  • Liver cancer is the third most common cancer in the world.
  • Liver cancer kills all patients within one year of them contracting it.

You may have it if…

  • You experience abdominal pains or tenderness, particularly in the upper-right portion of your body.
  • You bruise or bleed easily.
  • Your abdomen seems enlarged.
  • Your eyes or skin turn yellowish (jaundice).

Screen for it with…

  • You could have a physical examination with your doctor, and it may show an enlarged, tender liver.
  • There are also a variety of tests that can be taken:
    - Abdominal CT scans
    - Abdominal ultrasound
    - Liver biopsy
    - Liver function tests (Liver Enzymes)
  • High-risk patients may have to go for periodic tests, to see if tumours are developing.

You are at risk if…

  • You are a heavy drinker (Alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes of liver cancer)
  • You have particular types of autoimmune diseases of the liver (e.g. autoimmune hepatitis)
  • You have a disease that causes prolonged inflammation of the liver.
  • You have Hepatitis B or C
  • You have too much iron in your body (Hemachromatosis)

The course(s) of action…

  • If diagnosed early, small or slow growing tumours can be successfully removed through surgery or liver transplants. However, few patients are diagnosed early.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are normally not effective. They are however, useful in shrinking large tumours so as to increase the chance of success of surgery.
  • There are some types of approved medication for patients with advanced cases of liver cancer to stop tumour growth.

Testicular cancer

The facts…

  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. It can also occur in older men and younger boys, although it is rare.
  • Men of African or Asian descent are less likely to develop this cancer, but it does happen.
  • There are two main types of testicular cancer
    - Seminoma is form of testicular cancer that grows at a very slow pace. It usually affects men in their 30’s and 40’s. The cancer is usually found only in the testes, but can spread. Radiation therapy is a very effective method of treatment.
    - Nonseminoma is the more common form of testicular cancer that grows quicker than seminomas. Nonseminoma tumors usually contain more than one type of cell.

You may have it if…

  • You have a feeling of discomfort or pain in your testicle, or a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum.
  • You have a pain in your back, or lower abdomen.
  • Your testicle seems enlarged, or there is a change in the way it feels.
  • You have an excess in development of breast tissue. But it is possible for this to occur as well to adolescent boys who do not have testicular cancer
  • You have a lump, or swelling in either testicle.

Screen for it with…

  • A physical examination will reveal a lump in one of the testicles. When your doctor flashes a light onto the scrotum, the light does not pass through the lump. There is also a series of tests, such as x-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests.

You are at risk if…

  • You have abnormal testicle development
  • You have a family history of testicular cancer
  • You have a history of undescended testicles
  • You have Klinefelter syndrome

The course(s) of action are…

  • The specific course of action is heavily dependant on the type of testicle tumour, and also the stage of the tumour.
  • Surgery to remove the testicle can be used for both seminoma and nonseminomas
  • Radiation therapy may be used after surgery, to prevent the tumour from returning. Radiation therapy is normally only used for seminomas.
  • Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. This treatment has substantially improved the survival rate for patients for both seminomas and nonseminomas. LW

The Magic Of Mushrooms

Mushrooms also have a long history of use in Traditional Medicine. They are said to help greatly in promoting good health, healing and vitality. They are also meant to help our body strengthen itself and fight off illness by restoring our body’s balance and natural resistance to disease.
Here are some well known cancer-fighting and immune-boosting mushrooms.

Agaricus Blazei Murrill Mushroom

A few decades ago, researchers noticed that local inhabitants in a region of Brazil were extraordinarily healthy and had a very low incidence of disease, which they attributed to a ‘magical mushroom’, called Agaricus Blazei Murrill (ABM).

The ABM mushroom contains Beta-glucans; these long-chain polysaccharides are the most potent immune enhancing substances yet found. They also have very powerful anti-tumour properties. Studies showed that human subjects who were given AMB in their diet had a 3000% increase of NK cells, a type of anti-tumour white blood cell known as Natural Killer cells. Agaricus also contains an anti-tumour agent, an anti-viral agent, and immunity enhancers.

Ling Zhi

Antrodia Camphorata (AC) is also commonly called the King of Ling Zhi. This is a rare medicinal fungus that grows naturally inside the Cinnamonum kanehirae tree trunk, a native tree species of Taiwan. 

This Fungus is good for the heart, liver and lungs. It has been shown to increase cardiac contractility, lower blood pressure, and increase resistance to oxygen deficiency in the cardiac muscles. 
It also has a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity, and inhibits the growth of dangerous bacteria such as E. coli and others. In addition to that, AC has been shown to have anti-neoplastic activity due to its immune-enhancing properties.

Cordyceps Oglossoides MushroomLike many other medicinal mushrooms, this mushroom contains complex sugars in the form of beta-glucans and other nutrients that strongly nourishes and activates different parts of the immune system. 

It is useful in treating chronic fatigue and other immune disorders. It is shown to help the immune system recognise tumours that sometimes escape immune surveillance, and it has positive effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems along with an anti-aging effect.