Study offers hint about why men develop prostate cancer, what to do to prevent it

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Did you know that every three minutes, a new case of prostate cancer is diagnosed in America? Here are the facts as provided by American Cancer Society, Inc., in “Cancer Facts & Figures 2002.”

• In 2002, an estimated 189,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This represents one new case every three minutes.

• Prostate cancer continues to be the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men.

• A life is lost to prostate cancer in this country every 17 minutes. In 2002, an estimated 30,200 men are expected to die of prostate cancer. By comparison, breast cancer will kill an estimated 40,000 Americans in 2002.

• Prostate cancer can be hereditary. A man with one close relative with prostate cancer has twice the risk of contracting it. With two close relatives, a man’s risk increases fivefold, and with three close relatives, a man’s risk of prostate cancer is 97 percent.

• African-American men have the highest prostate cancer incidence rates in the world. They are 35 percent to 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed than Caucasian men and are twice as likely to die of the disease.

• Prostate cancer is common in North America and Northwestern Europe and is rare in South America, Africa and Asia.

Why is prostate cancer so common here and so rare in Asia?

Researchers wonder why Asian men don’t get prostate cancer at the same rate as men in the United States. In fact less than 2 percent of Asian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Research shows that men on traditional Asian, Mediterranean and Latin diets, which are high in isoflavones, generally maintain normal prostate health later in life than men on a typical American diet.

Isoflavones are naturally occurring substances found in many foods. Isoflavone-rich diets are those that rely on legumes such as chickpeas, clover, lentils and beans for their source of protein. This was the way humans ate until a few centuries ago, when Western man started using meat for protein instead of isoflavone-rich legumes.

Scientists are focusing on four isoflavones common in the Asian diet for their positive impact on prostate health: biochanin, genistein, formononetin and daidzein. Soy isoflavones, contained in common American supplements, do not contain all four of these isoflavones known to show beneficial activity in humans.

New study appears to confirm theory that certain isoflavones keep cancer from spreading.

Australian researchers from Monash University in Melbourne studied 38 men with prostate cancer to determine the effects of a red clover dietary supplement that contains all four of these isoflavones. Prior to prostate surgery, a daily dose of the supplement was taken by the treatment group. After surgery the prostates were examined and compared to prostates of patients who received no treatment.

The study was presented this past February at the 3rd World Congress on the Aging Male, in Berlin. The dietary supplement, Trinovin is manufactured by Novogen, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. For each patient, an average of 2,500 cells were counted. The incidence of cancer cell death occurred on average five times more often in the patients taking Trinovin compared to the untreated patients, specifically in regions of low-grade prostate cancer.

This research suggests that taking Trinovin shows great promise for Western men seeking to mimic the effects of the Asian diet on their own prostate health. Trinovin is available at many drug stores.

Who’s at greatest risk?

The risk for prostate cancer increases with age, with men over the age of 65 at highest risk. However, 25 percent of all cases are diagnosed in men under the age of 65.

The American Urological society recommends that white American men over the age of 50 and African-American men over the age of 40 should have a prostate exam and PSA blood test as part of their annual physical.

Dr. Erin Katz is Director of the Center of Holistic Urology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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