It just took an untimely death of a good looking and well-loved singer to drive home the simple message to men about maintaining healthy prostate.

Dan Fogelberg, 56, one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the ’70s and ’80s, died peacefully last Sunday (16 December) in his home in Maine after battling advanced prostate cancer since being diagnosed in 2004

Dan Fogelberg in 1985Dan Fogelberg & wife Jean in 2003

As some media had put, his voice was indeed angelic, his music was powerful in its simplicity, his lyrics celebrated beauty and romance. I always remembered him for his songs “Longer” and “Leader of the Band” as they were both a one-time favourites in the karaoke pub that I used to hang out. I admired songwriters like him who can quickly capture an unusual encounter into a nice song and with an engaging storyline lyric. In his case, that work Same Old Lang Syne” turns into a top 10 hit in 1980 and it is still evergreen. For those who cannot remember this lyric, click here

It had been reported that in the United States, except lung cancer, prostate cancer is responsible for more male deaths than any other cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is least common among Asian men and most common among black men, with figures for white men in-between. Is these because the detection reporting is poorer in Asia or that Asian has traditional herbs such as “cat whiskers” that is reported to keep the urinary system cleaner and healthier?

Currently, there is no way to prevent the disease. There are indications men who drink and smoke have a higher chance of getting it in a virulent form. Most men will not experience any symptom while some men might experience symptoms like :-

  • A need to urinate frequently especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper highs

Since diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, he has been championing the anti-prostate cancer message via his website that:-

1. All men over 50 should get the so-called PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test and a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) test every year. It just takes a few minutes.
2. For men with a family history of prostate cancer, they should start getting tested at age 40.
3. Go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation website to read up on how best to protect yourself and reduce your likelihood of contracting this terrible disease. There is a comprehensive guide Report to the Nation on Prostate Cancer: A Guide for Men and Their Families which you can read online. Upon a registration, you can download a PDF or get a free printed copy.


Pomegranate Juice: Tart, Trendy, And Targeted On Prostate Cancer Cells

Researchers in California are reporting new evidence explaining pomegranate juice’s mysterious beneficial effects in fighting prostate cancer.

In a new study, Navindra Seeram and colleagues have found that the tart, trendy beverage also uses a search-and-destroy strategy to target prostate cancer cells.

In previous research, Seeram’s group found that pomegranate juice consumption had a beneficial effect for prostate cancer patients with rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Such increases in PSA signal that the cancer is progressing, “doubling time” a key indicator of prognosis. Men whose PSA levels double in a short period are more likely to die from their cancer.

Pomegranate juice increased doubling times by almost fourfold.

In the new study, they researchers discovered evidence in laboratory experiments that pomegranate works in a “seek and destroy” fashion. On consumption, ellagitannins (ET), antioxidants abundant in pomegranate juice, break down to metabolites known as urolithins. The researchers showed that the urolithins concentrate at high levels in prostate tissue after being given orally and by injection to mice with prostate cancer. They also showed that urolithins inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in cell culture.

“The chemopreventive potential of pomegranate ellagitannins and localization of their bioactive metabolites in mouse prostate tissue suggest that pomegranate may play a role in prostate cancer treatment and chemoprevention,” the researchers state, recommending further clinical studies with pomegranate and prostate cancer patients.

This research, “Pomegranate Ellagitannin-Derived Metabolites Inhibit Prostate Cancer Growth and Localize to the Mouse Prostate Gland,” is scheduled for publication in the Sept. 19 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Note: This story by Science Daily has been adapted from material provided by American Chemical Society.


Red Wine Protects The Prostate – Harvard Men’s Health Watch

Researchers have found that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine, reports the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.

Researchers in Seattle collected information about many factors that might influence the risk of prostate cancer in men between ages 40 and 64, including alcohol consumption. At first the results for alcohol consumption seemed similar to the findings of many earlier studies: There was no relationship between overall consumption and risk.

But the scientists went one step further by evaluating each type of alcoholic beverage independently. Here the news was surprising—wine drinking was linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. And when white wine was compared with red, red had the most benefit. Even low amounts seemed to help, and for every additional glass of red wine per week, the relative risk declined by 6%.

Why red wine? Doctors don’t know. But much of the speculation focuses on chemicals—including various flavonoids and resveratrol—missing from other alcoholic beverages. These components have antioxidant properties, and some appear to counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

Many doctors are reluctant to recommend drinking alcohol for health, fearing that their patients might assume that if a little alcohol is good, a lot might be better. The Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that men who enjoy alcohol and can drink in moderation and responsibly may benefit from a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac death.