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Men's health: have you been tested?
Date: 2013-11-13
Author: Belinda Reynolds
Access: Public


Men’s health: have you been tested?

Results from the Community Attitudes Survey 2012 shows that about 41% of men surveyed between the ages of 40 and 70 have had a prostate examination in the last 12 months.1 

Surprisingly, reported rates of testing are marginally higher for participants who live in rural/regional than those who live in metropolitan locations. 

While testing rates are improving, there is currently no population based screening for prostate conditions and this leads to confusion among men and their healthcare practitioners. Many men aren’t clear if their prostate health is at risk or when they should be getting tested. 

Men aged 50 years and over should speak with their doctor about being tested for prostate cancer every year. However, if there is a family history of the disease, men should speak with their doctor annually from the age of 40 onwards.2

Testing

Both the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) and the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test can be used to check for abnormalities. The information gathered is used to determine the risk the cancer poses to the man’s health and life expectancy. There is medication available to treat an enlarged prostate, but patients should consult with their doctor on the best treatment options.2

Signs and symptoms

Senior Educator at BioCeuticals, Belinda Reynolds, said individuals who are concerned about their prostate health should look for specific symptoms. 

“Signs that you may need a prostate examination include the need to urinate frequently, particularly at night, sudden urges to urinate, difficulty in starting urine flow, a slow, interrupted flow and dribbling afterwards, pain during urination or blood in the urine or semen.

“If you do find yourself suffering from these symptoms, please consult with your doctor immediately to determine the cause and best treatment options,” said Ms Reynolds.

Prevention

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia encourages a healthy diet and lifestyle which includes fresh fruit, vegetables and exercise, and consuming lean red meat and alcohol in moderation as part of a daily routine to maintain a healthy prostate.

Ms Reynolds said men who want to support their prostate health and help reduce the symptoms of medically diagnosed benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) can look for complementary therapies that include the following ingredients:

Pygeum - “This herbal remedy comes from the bark of an African plum tree and has been used in traditional African medicine for men’s problems including prostate function.3

Pine oil - “An extract that contains phytosterols, it has been shown to improve urinary symptoms and flow measures in men with BPH.”4

Rye grass pollen - “Recent research has found men who take this pollen extract have a reduction in the need to get up at night to urinate, and improvements in self-rated urinary symptoms.”5

Crateva - “This Ayurbedic herb has been used as a urinary tonic and for the management of BPH.”6

Pumpkin seed - “Pumpkin seeds may reduce urinary difficulties associated with medically diagnosed BPH.”7

Lycopene, selenium and zinc - “These three nutrients stand out for promoting men’s health and have numerous benefits including sperm quality, prostate health and hormone production. Plus, they provide antioxidant protection.”8

Support men’s health in November - join the Movember movement! Go to www.movember.com.au for more information.

References:

  1. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website. Viewed 8 November. http://www.prostate.org.au/articleLive/pages/2012-Community-Attitudes-Survey-released.html 
  2. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website. Viewed 8 November. http://www.prostate.org.au/articleLive/
  3. Pygeum africanum (Prunus africanus) (African plum tree) monograph. Altern Med Rev 2002;7(1):71-74.
  4. Wilt TJ, Ishani A, MacDonald R, et al. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia (review). The Cochrane Collaboration 2011, Issue 5.
  5. Wilt T, MacDonald R, Ishani A, et al. Cernilton for benign prostatic hyperplasia (review). The Cochrane Collaboration 2008, Issue 4.
  6. Deshpande PJSahu MKumar P. Crataeva nurvala Hook and Forst (Varuna)--the Ayurvedic drug of choice in urinary disorders. Indian J Med Res 1982;76 Suppl:46-53.
  7. Pumpkin seed. Expanded Commission E Monographs, American Botanical Council 2000. Viewed 2 August 2013, http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Pumpkinseed.html
  8. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, 3rd ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2010.

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