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Effects of Oxidation and Inflammation, Cancer, Prostate Cancer
  Oxygen is essential to life, but the chemistry of oxygen and oxidation drives cancer development. Oxidation is a normal chemical reaction that occurs when free radicals form within the cells of the prostate. Each oxygen atom contains two electrons that cling together. When heat or light breaks apart the atom, the electrons are separated, leaving unpaired oxygen radicals. These radicals are free to roam around and initiate a process of breaking down normal cellular structures, causing damage and promoting the development of cancer. The more free radicals present, the more cancer causing damage occurs.
This process is similar to what happens during the browning of an apple after it is sliced open and the flesh of the apple is exposed to the oxygen in the air. The oxygen atoms in the air interact with the sugar in the apple, forming oxygen radicals. These radicals break down the flesh of the apple, or oxidize it, and the apple begins to rot.
As long as the outer peel of the apple protects the inner flesh from oxygen, it is not oxidized. But when protective "antioxidants" are removed, the damage from oxidation is allowed to occur unimpeded. Likewise, our bodies have many sophisticated defenses against oxidation. But when these defenses break down, cancerous cells form and are allowed to grow.
One of the most common causes of the loss of protective antioxidants is inflammation, a biochemical process that your body initiates when fighting off an infection. If the body senses invaders, such as bacteria, white blood cells are mobilized to go to the site of the invasion and to release oxygen and nitrogen radicals to help kill the invaders. Unfortunately, if they remain unchecked, these same oxygen radicals can also break down normal tissue and promote the development of cancer. Oxygen radicals damage normal DNA, causing errors that allow cancer growth.
In fact, investigators have noted the presence of inflammatory cells in virtually all prostate cancer tissue that is removed surgically, and have found that inflammation leads to the atrophy, or wasting away, of normal prostate tissue adjacent to precancerous and cancerous areas of prostate tissue.
Based on these and other observations, evidence is mounting that inflammation and oxidation play key roles in the development of prostate cancer. Why is this important? Because although other contributory factors such as aging and altered hormone secretions are difficult or impossible to change, nutritional and exercise habits that reduce the development of inflammation and oxidation can be changed.
There are many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances found in colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and spices nearly all of which are absent from the processed foods that rely on sugar, salt, and fat for flavor. By focusing your diet on fresh fruits and vegetables, ocean-caught fish, and whole grains, you can increase the protective antiinflammatory components of your diet and begin to benefit from their effects.
For example, tomato-based products such as soups, pasta, and juices can increase levels of the antioxidant lycopene in the prostate gland. Drinking beverages such as pomegranate juice and green and black tea can increase levels of antioxidant-containing polyphenols. The cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, wasabi mustard, and horseradish all contain substances that may induce protective proteins in your liver and tissues, while vitamins, minerals, extracts of fruits and vegetables, herbs, and spices can all act against both oxidation and inflammation.
Finally, recent research has suggested that regular exercise may be one of the best natural antioxidants. Regular exercise causes many changes in your body that help reduce circulating levels of reactive oxygen inflammation. Beyond burning calories, endurance-type exercises, such as walking, running, cycling, and swimming, are particularly effective at increasing the body's natural levels of antioxidants, eliminating inflammatory molecules that drive cancer.
Prostate Information
Screening for prostate cancer can be performed quickly and easily in a physician's office using two tests: the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, and the digital rectal exam (DRE).Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men.
The older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although only 1 in 10,000 under age 40 will be diagnosed, the rate shoots up to 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 15 for ages 60 to 69. In fact, more than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.
The prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut that sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra, the narrow tube that runs the length of the penis and that carries both urine and semen out of the body, runs directly through the prostate; the rectum, or the lower end of the bowel, sits just behind the prostate and the bladder. Sitting just above the prostate are the seminal vesicles, two little glands that secrete about 60% of the substances that makes up semen; running alongside and attached to the sides of the prostate are the nerves that control erectile function.
Prostate cancer occurs when cells within the prostate grow uncontrollably, creating small tumors. The term "cancer" refers to a condition in which the regulation of cell growth is lost and cells grow uncontrollably. Most cells in the body are constantly dividing, maturing and then dying in a tightly controlled process. Unlike normal cells, the growth of cancer cells is no longer well-regulated. Instead of dying as they should, cancer cells outlive normal cells and continue to form new, abnormal cells.
Abnormal cell growths are called tumors. The term "primary tumor" refers to the original tumor; secondary tumors are caused when the original cancer spreads to other locations in the body. Prostate cancer typically is comprised of multiple very small, primary tumors within the prostate. At this stage, the disease is often curable (rates of 90% or better) with standard interventions such as surgery or radiation that aim to remove or kill all cancerous cells in the prostate. Unfortunately, at this stage the cancer produces few or no symptoms and can be difficult to detect.
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