Blue September

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It’s that time of the year again. People are turning blue to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

With more than 500 fathers, sons, brothers and grandfathers succumbing to prostate cancer each year, Blue September aims to get people talking about prevention and how we all can help lower the incidence of the disease.

Knowing the early signs of prostate disease is important. Trouble starting a urine stream, passing urine often, especially at night, feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied and stopping and starting again several times while passing urine may indicate an enlarged prostate.

Your GP can investigate further with a simple blood test which can detect prostate specific antigens (PSA). These proteins are normally secreted by the prostate gland to help sperm motility.

PSA is present in small quantities in the bloodstream of men with a healthy prostate, but may be elevated in the presence of an enlarged prostate.

Saw palmetto, a herbal extract made from the berries of the dwarf American palm, is one of the most popular herbal treatments for prostate disease in New Zealand.

Saw palmetto inhibits the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, which converts the hormone testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone.

By reducing the production of this hormone, which plays a critical role in the stimulation of prostate cells and prostate enlargement, the extract can lessen the chances of developing prostate disease and help maintain a healthier reproductive system.

The simplest way to avoid prostate disease is by living a lifestyle based on common sense.  Follow a healthy diet that you and your family are involved in preparing.

Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables – named after a cross because they have four petals as they sprout – such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts which break down and detoxify carcinogens.  Include soy milk or tofu products that contain isoflavones, which have been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

To identify some of the warning signs of prostate disease and how to go about getting the help that’s right for you, visit http://www.blueseptember.org.nz. It only takes a few minutes and the website provides useful information on ways to stay healthy and vital.

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