Pomegranates, Pomegranate Juice & Prostate Health

The Pomegranate

We can subtitle this one:  Top 10 Health Benefits of Pomegranates and Pomegranate Juice!

This list is only a short one of all of the health benefits of pomegranates and pomegranate juice, but our fondness for all things “Prostate Cancer Awareness” drew our attention because a couple of notables on our efforts make the top ten list.

It used to be that pomegranates were viewed as one of those “exotic fruits” that some weren’t inclined to try outside of their comfort zone of apples, oranges, and bananas.  My, how times have changed.  Pomegranates find themselves perched high atop the super health food charts and is surprisingly devoid of any of the questions surrounding a  lot of the far-away nuts, beans, roots, and other natural supplements that purport to have great health impacts on the human body.  Pomegranates are one of those super anti-oxidants with many beneficial qualities.

Born of a shrub/tree that is of Middle Eastern and Asian origin, this “bushy tree” produces the highly regarded pomegranate fruit.  Pomegranates contain nutrient-rich pulp and seeds, but offers consumers the challenge of breaking through the hard outer covering protecting the wonderful fruit and seed within.  For those of you who are put-off by work offered from the fresh pomegranate, relax!  You have alternatives available including pomegranate supplements and  pomegranate juice such as the POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice.

So, here’s our Top 10 List of potential health benefits that come with the consumption of pomegranates as part of your diet.

#1. Prostate Cancer Benefits!  Studies indicate that pomegranate extracts can assist prostate cells to die  via apoptosis, which is a form of cellular suicide. It can also slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells.  Further, other pomegranate components, called ellagitannins, may interfere with the growth of new blood vessels necessary to feed prostate tumors.  Other compounds, specifically punicic acid, kaempferol, and delphinidin chloride may inhibit prostate cell growth often stimulated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  And finally – scientists have also noted that pomegranate can inhibit gene expression in androgen-independent prostate cancer.

#2. PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) Benefits!  In studies, men with prostate cancer and who had surgery or radiation but whose PSA levels had climbed were given 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily. While the average PSA level had doubled every 15 months before drinking the juice, it was taking nearly 60 months by the end of the study!  Pomegranate juice also was associated with a 17 percent increase in cancer cell apoptosis and a 12 percent decline in the spread of cancer cells.   Winner!  Read the rest of this entry »

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How Does a PSA Blood Test Help Identify Potential Prostate Cancer?

A PSA Blood Test (prostate-specific antigen test) may be done as a result of findings during a digital prostate exam or may be done as a stand-alone test.  It is not unusual for your family physician to make PSA testing part of the overall screening that you’ll have done as a normal course of an annual physical.  This is especially true if you’ve reached the age of 40.

The PSA blood test requires a normal blood draw that we’ve probably all experienced at one time or another in our lives.  Within a few days, your results come back from the laboratory, and you’re discussing results with your doctor.

However, it is at least as important to speak with your doctor before proceeding with the testing.  In keeping with recommendations from the American Cancer Society (ACS), pre-test discussions are important because the PSA blood test, in and of itself, is not foolproof.  There are many factors that may affect your PSA number.  A figure of  4 ng/ml or higher may not necessarily be a guarantee of the presence of prostate cancer.  Conversely, a figure of less than 4 ng/ml does not mean that you are cancer free.  There are limitations associated with the results of the PSA blood test and it’s important to keep in mind that it is one screening method along a path of several that are done to gain a complete insight as to the nature of your condition – if you have a condition at all.   ACS guidelines explicitly recommend that pre-testing discussions on these matters take place between you and your physician.  Elevated PSA levels may also indicate noncancerous conditions including prostatitis or an enlarged prostate gland.

The only way to confirm the presence of prostate cancer is through a biopsy.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Give Prostate Cancer The Finger – Tell the Men In Your Life You Love Them!

Give Prostate Cancer The FingerIn honor of Valentine’s Day, a day typically held sacred by and for women the world over, it’s time we give the men in our lives some love. Frankly, without them Valentine’s Day kinda sucks. We need to stand up proud and strong, shout out at the top of our lungs that we love our men, and give the finger to Prostate Cancer.

So, here’s the deal – re-tweeting on Twitter, changing your Twitter profile pics, liking our Facebook Fan Page (which we don’t even have yet) would all be well and good, but none of that really helps cure Prostate Cancer.  That’s what we are here to do! Read the rest of this entry »

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Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

You’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  The next step is to find out what prostate cancer treatment options are available for you, learn about them, and make an informed decision as to what course of action is most appropriate.

There are a wide array of prostate cancer treatment options available to men suffering from prostate cancer.  Each of them come with a host of potential prostate cancer treatment side-effects ranging from inconvenient to those which will alter the course of your daily life with some significance.  It is vitally important that you educate yourself about all available prostate cancer treatment option and to discuss them with your medical team.  Doing so gives you all of the information that you need to make the best decision for yourself and your family as you move through the treatment process.

Though the list below is not all-inclusive and more treatment options are on the horizon, we will summarize the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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Prostate Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction

The combination of men’s inability to speak openly about erectile dysfunction (ED) and the reality that nearly all men who receive prostate cancer treatments will suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) conspire to leave most men without an active sex life in the aftermath of prostate cancer.

From WebMD comes the following statistical information about erectile dysfunction in the aftermath of prostate cancer treatments:

One study shows erectile dysfunction rates of 66% for nerve-sparing prostatectomy versus 75% for non-nerve sparing surgery at one year after the surgery. The use of vacuum devices or erectile dysfunction drugs after surgery once the body has healed may improve the quality of erections and speed the return of normal sexual function.

There are other studies which place the erectile dysfunction rates after prostate cancer treatments even higher and this doesn’t bode well for a man’s sexual life after prostate cancer treatments.  Having a child through conventional sexual intercourse is impossible once the prostate gland and seminal vesicles have been removed as a part of any prostatectomy.  Without the semen necessary to nourish and protect the sperm en route to a woman’s egg, a man can no longer ejaculate sperm from his body.  Once the nerves and surrounding muscle tissue are impacted by prostate cancer treatment, the mechanics of sexual activity are permanently affected.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Prostate Cancer Treatment Side-Effects

You’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  You have received or are receiving any number of prostate cancer treatments.  It’s hard to get into a great deal of detail that covers all of the possible side-effects from cancer treatment, but we will summarize many of the most common associated with the typical prostate cancer treatments you may receive once you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  They may include one or more of the following (along with others we may not have covered in this blog post): Read the rest of this entry »

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Pints for Prostates

Don’t look now, but it’s 2011 and that means it’s a new year to prepare for Pints For Prostates!  This year is expected to be a major step-up in this incredible awareness campaign effort that originated with prostate cancer survivor and beer writer Rick Lyke back in 2008. The Pints For Prostates effort raises awareness among men of the importance of regular health screenings (including digital prostate exams) and PSA testing.  This is achieved by their making special appearances at beer festivals, social networking, and pro bono advertising – and pretty much anything else that they can think of!

They’ve taken the “universal language of beer” well beyond deep, resonating, belches and clanking of mugs in toast before a big swallow to a issue of critical importance – prostate cancer awareness!  In keeping with that wonderful theme, Pints for Prostates has rolled out their early schedule of attendance at events throughout 2011 in order to continue encouraging men to educate themselves about prostate cancer and to make their own health a higher priority.

During the last two years, Pints for Prostates has been a part of roughly 100 events.  These events are most often organized by volunteers and on a local scale at restaurants or brewpubs.

2011 Preliminary Schedule of Events (more added throughout the year) Read the rest of this entry »

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Promoting Prostate Gland Health

Did you know? Prostate Cancer is the single most prevalent cancer in the United States today. Prostate Cancer ranks #2 in cancer deaths behind only lung cancer in men. Fully one in every six men will develop prostate cancer during the course of their lifetimes, although the ratio of deaths/diagnoses is low.

Annually, more than 200,000 men are diagnosed and approximately 30,000 men die as a result of prostate cancer according to recent available data from 2007 and prior years show similar results (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  Prostate cancer actually kills men at a greater rate (approximately 32-in-100,000) than breast cancer kills women (approximately 27-in-100,000).  These statistics are alarming.  Despite these numbers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the same level of extensive prostate cancer awareness in the media and in the general public as you do for breast cancer.  Consequently, the research money and donations for prostate cancer awareness and treatment are significantly less than for breast cancer.  This needs to change.

Prostate cancer usually develops without any significant outward signs and over a long period of time.  Early prostate cancer detection is critical as it is easily treatable and patients can live a very long and productive life when it’s caught early.  The two most common ways prostate cancer is identified are through the digital prostate examination and/or a PSA blood test.

What can be done to promote a healthy prostate gland? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Prostate Self-Exam

I know if you’re reading this, your first thought upon reading the title was, “Oh, no!  There is simply no way I could ever, ever, ever…” and that’s fine.  It’s still important to know that this is an option that is available to you to help you to discover the early warning signs of potential prostate cancer.  Our goal is to help to educate you and share all of the other resources that are available.  We want to encourage you to be more aware.  We want you to help make others aware of the prevalence of prostate cancer in men.  We would love for everyone to know about all of the help available to minimize the impact of prostate cancer if it comes.  The prostate self-exam is just another one of those options.

Detection and confirmation of the existence of prostate cancer comes through several different examinations, blood tests, and ultimately – a biopsy of the prostate gland.  The digital rectal exam is a surprisingly accurate 1st-step in defending against and ultimately treating prostate cancer if confirmed through subsequent tests.  This is true even though the digital rectal exam doesn’t allow a physician (or you) to check the entire surface of the prostate gland.

In terms of the frequency with which you should have a prostate exam, most recommendations are annually at the age of 40 and beyond.  This is easily accommodated at your annual physical.  However, even at younger ages – your 20s and 30s – consideration should be given to having your prostate gland checked with some regularity.  Every two or three years should do and more frequently if you have certain other risk factors for prostate cancer.

There are several types of cancers that both men and women can check for through self-examination.  Testicular cancer and breast cancer come to mind.  Despite your reservations about the process by which a prostate self-examination is done, you must be aware that this option is also available to men.  It can be a prostate self-exam that is done by you or a trusted partner.  If you educate yourself on the methodology and what you’re looking for, you become an ever earlier line of defense against prostate cancer – yes, even before your own physician.

One caveat: A prostate self-exam is not intended to be a replacement for your annual prostate examination by a qualified physician. You’re not the expert, but you are going to be knowledgeable enough about the process and what to look for so you can make an appointment right away if you detect any unusual pain or other anomalies.

Now to the part that will likely make most readers groan… How do I do a prostate self-exam? Read the rest of this entry »

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What is a PSA?

At this website, if you guessed “public service announcement” – you would be incorrect. However, our post is a public service announcement of sorts. For the purposes of our post, PSA is the acronym for Prostate-Specific Antigen.

So, what is a prostate-specific antigen?  This is an excellent question.  Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a substance that is produced by the prostate gland.  The PSA levels are identified via a PSA blood test.

Elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen are an indicator to the potential existence of prostate cancer.  However, that is not all it may indicate.  It may indicate an enlarged prostate gland or prostatitis. Prostatitis is a disease of the prostate gland often accompanied by groin pain, painful urination, and difficulty urinating among other symptoms.

Read the rest of this entry »

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