Risks of prostate cancer - most common male malignancy - can be reduced

While the survival rate for the cancer is very high, men can take preventative steps.

September 3, 2017 18:27
4 minute read.
Israel Cancer Associaton logo

Israel Cancer Association logo. (photo credit: Courtesy)

While the incidence of prostate cancer in Israeli men is declining, it is still 11th among 20 Western countries and ranked fifth above the OECD average of 34 nations, according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The five-year survival rate is very high among Jews (over 95%) and 86% among Arabs.

These and other figures were announced on Sunday by the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) and the Health Ministry before World Prostate Cancer Awareness Day on September 15.

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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Israel. Since 1990, 27,573 Israelis have been diagnosed with invasive prostate cancer , 11,899 of them in the last five years. In 2014, the last year to be analyzed, a total of 2,237 men were diagnosed. Most of the patients -- both Jews and Arabs -- were diagnosed over the age of 65.

In advance of the awareness day, the ICA will hold a seminar with the participation of the best professionals in the field, for prostate cancer patients and their spouses, free of charge, which will take place on Wednesday, September 6 at its headquarters in Givatayim.
Prof. Avishai Sela, head of oncology at Yitzhak Shamir (Assaf Harofe) Medical Center in Tzrifin, will speak about risk factors, methods of diagnosis and prevention, radiation treatment and hormonal and chemical therapy. The seminar will also include a lecture on sexual functioning in cancer patients, which will be passed by ICA counselor Lena Kurtz-Almog.

At the same time, the ICA is presenting its recommendations to the general public in a new booklet that will be distributed to the public free of charge and includes updated instructions when to be examined. The ICA and the ministry noted that they do not recommend screening for prostate cancer among healthy men, as this has not been shown  effective in reducing death rates from the malignancy.

ICA director-general Miri Ziv noted, however, that “for high-risk men with a family history of a father, brother or son who has had prostate cancer, they should consult their doctor on the advantages and disadvantages of performing prostate cancer diagnostic tests.”

The ICA is launching a new social service that matches new prostate cancer patients with volunteers who have already recovered from or is currently coping with prostate cancer. The link will be made as closely as possible between the volunteer and the patient according to age, place of residence and other characteristics for creating a common language and mutual assistance.

A new meta-analysis from China has found that consumption of legumes can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer risk. The authors looked at eight studies conducted worldwide (Europe, North America and Asia) that examined the relationship between legume intake and the risk of the malignancy. The studies included 281,000 men, of which about 10,000 contracted prostate cancer. They were followed for an average of seven years. The studied conducted in Europe showed a especially powerful influence of a diet rich in legumes -- a 36% decline.

A different study found a clear link between obesity and a higher risk of prostate cancer. Ways to reduce the risk, according to the ICA, including eating plenty of vegetables and fruits and foods high in fiber; avoiding high-calorie foods high in sugar and fat, minimizing a diet of processed foods, whether smoked, fried, salted or canned; reducing eating red meat; and drinking water instead to sweetened beverages.There is evidence that high consumption of tomatoes -- fresh or cooked -- can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Doing vigorous exercise every day for at least 30 minutes such as fast walking, running, cycling and swimming are also recommended. Avoid smoking tobacco in all forms and being exposed to tobacco smoke and .  carcinogenic particles that cling to clothing, hair and carpets.

Many personalities in Israel have openly exposed the story of their coping with prostate cancer in recent decades; among famous men abroad who have coped with it are actor Robert De Niro, US general Colin Powell, former US presidential candidate Bob Dole, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani , actor Ben Stiller, American tycoon Warren Buffett, former US Secretary of State John Kerry and actor Ryan O’Neill.

There were also many famous mem who died of prostate cancer, including American actor Dennis Hopper, former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, former South African president Nelson Mandela, actor Gary Cooper, singer Frank Zappa, US general Norman Schwarzkopf, singer Harry Belafonte, musician James Brown and former French president Francois Mitterrand. Only last year, the British actor Roger Moore died at the age of 89, and last month, comedian Jerry Lewis succumbed at the age of 91.

About a decade ago, the ICA conducted a public opinion poll showing that 81% of the public thinks that celebrities who openly expose cancer are positive influences and give strength to other cancer patients.

For information and to join the ICA's social service, contact the ICA’s rehabilitation and welfare department (03) 572-1678 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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