Male Health News September 2015

Prostate cancer is ‘five different diseases’

Researchers from Cancer Research UK have found that there may be five different types of prostate cancer, raising the prospect of different treatments for each type.

As reported by Science Daily, the Independent, and ITV News, researchers from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Addenbrooke’s Hospital studied prostate issue from over 250 men.  Their study grouped the prostate tumours into five specific groups, according to the abnormal chromosomes and activity of 100 genes linked to the disease.

Using this analysis enabled doctors to better predict which cancers would be the most aggressive. A long-running issue with prostate cancer diagnosis has been the difficulty in separating ‘tigers’ – aggressive, fast growing cancers – from the ‘pussycats’ – slow growing cancers that may not threaten a man’s life.  The findings will need to be tested in larger clinical trials, but this research may open a path to provide existing treatments more effectively, or create new targeted treatments.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 41,000 cases identified annually and over 10,000 deaths per year. Men’s risk increases as they get older, particularly after 50, so it is important to understand your risk and what you can do. You can find more about prostate cancer on our information pagesCancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer UK also offer a range of information, advice and support.

(25th September 2015)


Healthier living could help cut cancer cases by a third

New data from the World Cancer Research Fund suggests that 84,000 people per year in the UK could avoid cancer by cutting down on alcohol, losing weight and exercising regularly.

As reported by the Express amongst other news sites, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that around a third of cancer cases in the UK could be prevented through healthier lifestyles. The number of cancer cases is increasing in the UK, up to around 351,000 new cases in 2013 (most recent figures) from 340,000 in 2012. Amongst other cancers, the researchers estimate that “9% of advanced prostate cancer cases could be prevented every year if men were not overweight or obese.”  Rachel Thompson, Head of Research Interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund said “Even minor adjustments, like 10 or 15 extra minutes of physical activity each day, cutting down on alcohol, or limiting your intake of high calorie foods and sugary drinks, will help decrease your cancer risk.”

Cutting out smoking, drinking less, eating better and exercising regularly are clearly beneficial to men’s health in lots of ways, and this news simply underlines there are benefits around cancer prevention as well. Over the next few weeks, we are going to be running a range of material around healthy lifestyles on our social media channels. Why not join in the conversation on Twitter or Facebook?

(18th September 2015)


Eating fish could help prevent depression

A meta-analysis of 26 studies covering over 150,000 people has suggested that there is a link between eating fish and a reduced risk of depression.

A high fish diet was indicated to reduce the risk of being depressed by around 17%, as reported in the Telegraph today.  While cause and effect has not been established by the study, it is suggested that omega 3 fatty acids found in fish may have an impact on the brain’s production of serotonin and dopamine. Both these chemicals are thought to be involved in depression. However, it may be that people who eat a lot of fish may have healthier diets overall, impacting positively on mental health, so more research is required to understand this link. The study was undertaken by researchers at the Medical College of Qingdao University in China, and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Certainly, eating well is likely to have an impact on your mental wellbeing, especially when combined with other aspects of a healthy lifestyle like undertaking regular exercise. And if you are a vegetarian, there are “other sources of fatty acids, such as seeds and nuts, as well as supplements” as outlined by Rachel Boyd, information manager at Mind.  If you’re looking to improve your diet or your mental health, there are a range of resources that can help from Mind and the Men’s Health Forum.

(11th September 2015)


Aspirin could strengthen cancer treatment

New research indicates that cancer treatments might be more effective when combined with aspirin.

A team from the Francis Crick Institute in London have published a new study suggesting that aspirin may be able to block a molecule present in cancer cells, which would normally enable tumours to ‘hide’ from the body’s immune system. The study combined aspirin and similar drugs with immunotherapy in mice, which “substantially slowed the growth of bowel and malignant skin cancer”.   However, the researchers cautioned that new treatments based on these findings are still a long way off, and would first require clinical tests in humans.

While new treatments continue to be developed for many cancers, prevention (if possible) is always best. Part of the best defence against cancer is to know and try to reduce the risks of cancer, as well as being aware of the signs and symptoms. If you’re concerned at all, please don’t delay and see your doctor. If you would like more information, please check out our information pages.

(4th September 2015)