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Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system that produces the fluid that carries sperm, affecting approximately one in eight men in their lifetime.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men worldwide, especially older men accounting for about 14% of all new cancer diagnoses.

Prostate cancer is usually slow-growing and may not cause any symptoms for many years. However, in some cases, it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or lymph nodes, but it's highly treatable in the early stages.

What are the warning signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?

Early-stage prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms. However, as the cancer grows, it may cause the following symptoms:

Frequent urination, especially at night

Difficulty urinating

Weak or interrupted urine flow

Blood in the urine or semen

Pain or discomfort in the pelvis, lower back, or thighs

Erectile dysfunction

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What are the causes and risk factors of prostate cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer remains unknown, but several factors have been identified as increasing the risk of developing the disease. These include:

Family history: Having a father or brother with prostate cancer increases the risk of developing the disease by two to three times.

Hormonal changes: Hormones are substances that are produced by the body and affect the growth and function of cells. The male hormone testosterone is essential for the development and maintenance of the prostate gland. However, testosterone can also stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Some prostate cancers depend on testosterone to grow and spread, while others do not. Hormone therapy is a treatment that lowers the level of testosterone in the body or blocks its effects on the prostate cancer cells.

Diet and lifestyle: Some studies suggest that a diet high in red and processed meats and dairy products may increase the risk of prostate cancer, while a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may lower the risk.

DNA changes: Prostate cancer is caused by changes in the DNA of a normal prostate cell. Prostate cancer can be caused by DNA mutations (or other types of changes) that keep the genes that help cells grow turned on, or that turn off the genes that keep cell growth under control.

Exposure to certain chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as Agent Orange, a herbicide used during the Vietnam War, may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Acquired gene changes: Acquired gene changes are those that happen during a person’s life and are not passed on to their children. These changes can be caused by factors such as aging, smoking, inflammation, infections, or exposure to chemicals or radiation.

Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases significantly with age, with most cases diagnosed in men over the age of 65. This is likely due to changes in the prostate gland that occur over time.

Inherited gene mutations: Some DNA changes can be inherited from a parent or can be acquired during a person’s lifetime. Inherited gene changes are thought to play a role in about 10% of prostate cancers. These genes normally help repair DNA damage, prevent testosterone from reaching cancer cells, or regulate prostate development. Mutations in these genes can increase the risk of prostate cancer or make it more aggressive.

Obesity: Men who are obese are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. This is likely due to the fact that obesity can lead to inflammation, which can damage cells and make them more likely to become cancerous.

What are the best ways and foods to prevent and avoid prostate cancer?

There is no proven way to prevent prostate cancer, but you may reduce your risk by making healthy choices, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet.

Some of the best possible steps, dietary and lifestyle measures you can take to prevent or lower your risk of prostate cancer are as follow:

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of prostate cancer, as well as other health problems. Losing weight can help reduce this risk and improve your overall health. You can achieve a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and being physically active

Embrace a Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can lower your prostate cancer risk. These foods provide essential nutrients and antioxidants that may help protect against cancer development.

Choose a low-fat diet: Foods that contain fats include meats, nuts, oils and dairy products, such as milk and cheese. In some studies, men who ate the highest amount of fat each day had an increased risk of prostate cancer. To reduce the amount of fat you eat each day, limit fatty foods or choose low-fat varieties.

Limit Red Meat and Processed Foods: Reduce your consumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, as it's linked to an increased prostate cancer risk. Opt for lean protein sources like fish, poultry, and beans.

Consider Lycopene-Rich Foods: Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit, has been shown to have potential protective effects against prostate cancer. Include these foods regularly in your diet.

Quit Alcoholism and Smoking: Smoking can cause chronic coughing, which can put pressure on your abdominal wall and increase your hernia risk. Smoking can also impair your healing process if you have a hernia or undergo surgery for it. Alcohol can also increase your risk of prostate cancer, as well as damage your liver and other organs.

Engage in Regular Exercise: Physical activity not only helps maintain a healthy weight but may also reduce prostate cancer risk. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Discuss Vitamin D with Your Doctor: Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with an increased prostate cancer risk. Talk to your doctor about whether vitamin D supplements are appropriate for you.

Remember, adopting a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing process that benefits your overall well-being and may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

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