Prostate cancer is one of the biggest cancer killers in industrial countries and affects more than 500,000 men worldwide every year. This number is expected to increase with the ageing population, prompting increasing focus on prevention. Researchers now say that a daily supplement containing plant oestrogens and antioxidants like selenium and carotenoids may slow the rise in PSA levels, a marker for prostate cancer progression in some men.
Researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam say they have developed a water-soluble powder supplement for men with prostate cancer. The contents included a number of nutrients previously shown to protect against prostate cancer, including 50mg of alpha-tocopherol, 1.5g of phytosterols, 0.2 mg selenium, green tea, isoflavones and the carotenoids lutein and lycopene (10mg each).
For the study researchers took up 37 subjects with high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein that often demonstrates the presence of prostate cancer and its progression. Results after six weeks showed that the men had lower levels of male sex hormones, known to boost prostate cancer growth, and, in 21 patients, the supplement stopped the rise in PSA.
Although the study results indicate positive findings researchers say the effect on PSA levels does not necessarily mean that tumours would stop growing. Thus researchers say if future studies confirm that these observations translate into a slowing of disease progression, a dietary intervention may indeed become an attractive option for prostate cancer treatment and prevention
More information on prostate cancer from Medindia Introduction
As the name suggests, prostate cancer develops from cells of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located in front of the rectum, behind the base of the penis, under the bladder. It is found only in men, and produces some of the seminal fluid, which protects and nourishes sperm cells.
The prostate surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the penis. Nerves located next to the prostate take part in causing an erection of the penis.
When a person is affected by prostate cancer, the cancer cells may spread outside the gland to other parts of the body. Most prostate cancers grow very slowly and never cause symptoms or spread. Autopsy studies show that many elderly men who died of other disease also had a prostate cancer which neither they nor their doctor were aware of. But some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly. The people most likely to get prostate cancer are men over age 50.
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