5 Common Myths About Prostate Health
Myth #1: If you have prostate symptoms, it is likely to be cancer.
False. There are clinical conditions of the prostate gland that are not cancer, including the following:
- Prostatism - any condition of the prostate that causes interference with the flow of urine from the bladder.
- Prostatitis - inflammation that may be accompanied by discomfort, pain, frequent or infrequent urination, and sometimes fever.
- Prostatalgia - pain in the prostate gland.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy) - a specific term for enlargement of the prostate. BPH is the most common non-cancerous prostate problem. It can cause discomfort and problems urinating. BPH symptoms can be alarming because they are often similar to those of prostate cancer.
- Impotence (erectile dysfunction) - the inability to achieve or maintain an erection.
- Urinary incontinence - loss of bladder control.
Myth #2: Prostate cancer is an “old man’s disease.”
False. If you're diagnosed with prostate cancer in your late 40s or 50s, your friends may react with disbelief, because they think that only older men (age 65 years old or older) can get prostate cancer. The reality is that older men do have a greater risk for prostate cancer, but younger men can also develop the disease. All the more reason to take care of your health, which includes regular checkups and PSA screenings.
Myth #3: Expect to become impotent if you have prostate trouble.
False. Even in the worst-case scenario (i.e. prostate cancer), many men have few or no problems. Only about half of all men who receive treatment for prostate cancer will experience impotence … and in many cases, it’s a temporary thing.
Myth #4: Testosterone therapy (treatment for “Low T”) increases the risk of prostate cancer.
In an article from The Journal of Sexual Medicine, experts in endocrinology and urology addressed these issues as well as some others. They concluded there is no significant evidence that testosterone therapy will increase the risk of prostate cancer, or even BPH (enlarged prostate). Similarly, they found no evidence that testosterone therapy will convert undetectable prostate cancer to clinically detectable prostate cancer.
Myth #5: “It runs in the family” -- There’s nothing you can do to alter your odds of developing prostate cancer.
False. A few simple lifestyle changes can tip the odds in your favor.
Aside from genetic risk factors, a poor diet is one of the leading areas that can increase your prostate risk. Studies have shown that junk-food diets and fatty foods can heighten the risk factor significantly, so it makes sense to limit these food choices regardless of family history.
Additionally, certain nutrients may be able to limit risk even further. Experts say that B vitamins and diindolylmethane (a compound found in broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens) may support a healthy prostate. Also, studies have shown mixed results from the antioxidant lycopene.