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Prostate conditions

Related Terms
  • ABP, acute bacterial prostatitis, adrenal, androgen, antiandrogen, apoptosis, benign prostate hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy, bicalutamide, biologic therapy, biopsy, BPH, brachytherapy, CAP, Casodex®, catheter, chemotherapy, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, chronic prostatitis, cryosurgery, Davinci, digital rectal exam, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, estrogen, flutamide, genitourinary, goserelin acetate, HIFU, hormonal, hormone, hyperplasia, hypogonadism, impotence, incontinence, laparoscopic prostatectomy, leuprolide acetate, Lupron, metastasis, metastasize, Nilandron, nilatamide, nocturia, obesity, oncologist, pelvic lympadenectomy, perineal prostatectomy, perineum, prostadynia, prostatectomy, prostate enlargement, prostate gland, prostate infection, prostate-specific antigen, prostatic acid phosphatase, prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, PSA, radical prostatectomy, resectoscope, retropubic prostatectomy, robotic prostatectomy, RRP, seminal fluid, testosterone, transperineal, transrectal, transrectal ultrasound, transurethral, transurethral microwave thermotherapy, TUMT, TURP, ultrasound, urologist, urology, vaccine, Zoladex®.

  • The prostate is part of a man's reproductive (genitourinary) system and is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows.
  • A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut. Male hormones (androgens, particularly testosterone) normally produced by the body stimulate the growth of the prostate. The testicles are the main source of male hormones, including testosterone. The prostate changes size very little from birth until puberty, but at puberty it increases in weight and doubles in size. In general, the size of the prostate remains constant after puberty for the next 30 or more years. In some men, in fact, the prostate never again increases in size. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case for most men, who will develop some form of non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. Half of all men in their 50s and 80% of men in their 80s have some symptoms of BPH.
  • The prostate makes part of the seminal fluid. During ejaculation, seminal fluid helps carry sperm out of the man's body as part of semen. In the adult male, the glandular tissue of the prostate secretes a fluid that contributes 20-30% of the total volume of the seminal fluid released when a man ejaculates. This prostate fluid is continuously generated by the prostate but increases during sexual excitement. The combination of spermatozoa, seminal vesicle fluid, and prostatic fluid, in addition to a tiny amount of fluid from some minor glands, constitutes semen. The prostate gland fluid is a thin, milky substance that gives semen its characteristic color and odor.
  • Some common prostate problems include prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate, usually caused by bacterial infection), benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH (an enlarged prostate, which may cause dribbling after urination or a need to urinate often, especially at night), and prostate cancer (a common cancer that responds best to treatment when detected early).

  • Biopsy complications: Biopsy complications can include pain (which can persist after the biopsy), bleeding (which can appear in the stool or semen), and infection. Ongoing discomfort or bleeding should be evaluated by a clinician.
  • Prostate cancer complications: Prostate cancer can metastasize (spread to areas of the body other than the prostate such as lymph nodes, bone, lung, or liver) and can be life-threatening. Metastasis can take months to years to occur, depending on the individual. Although early-stage prostate cancer typically is not painful, once it has spread to bones, it may produce pain, which can be intense. Local growth of prostate cancer or treatment of prostate cancer can lead to urinary incontinence (leakage), erectile dysfunction (impotence), and other serious complications.

Integrative therapies
  • Strong scientific evidence:
  • Pygeum: Pygeum (P. africanum bark extract) has been observed to moderately improve urinary symptoms associated with enlargement of the prostate gland or prostate inflammation. Numerous human studies report that pygeum significantly reduces urinary hesitancy, urinary frequency, the number of times patients need to wake up at night to urinate, and pain with urination in men who experience mild-to-moderate symptoms. However, pygeum does not appear to reduce the size of the prostate gland or reverse the process of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to pygeum.
  • Saw palmetto: Numerous human trials report that saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) improves symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy such as nighttime urination, urinary flow, and overall quality of life, although it may not greatly reduce the size of the prostate. Although the quality of these studies has been variable, overall they suggest effectiveness.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to saw palmetto. Use cautiously with a history of health conditions involving the stomach, liver, heart, or lungs; hormone-sensitive conditions; or bleeding disorders. Use cautiously with drugs that thin the blood or hormonal drugs.
  • Good scientific evidence:
  • Beta-sitosterol: Beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside have been used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Additional clinical study is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to beta-sitosterol, beta-sitosterol glucoside, or pine. Use cautiously with asthma or breathing disorders, diabetes, primary biliary cirrhosis (destruction of the small bile duct in the liver), ileostomy, neurodegenerative disorders (such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease), bulging of the colon, short bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or sitosterolemia. Use cautiously with a history of gallstones.
  • Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. It is an essential element in several metabolic pathways. There is some evidence that low selenium levels are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. In human studies, initial evidence has suggested that selenium supplementation reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer in men with normal baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels, and low selenium blood levels. Selenium deficiency may be diagnosed by measuring the selenium in the blood where the normal level is 70 nanograms per milliliter or ng/ml in blood plasma (liquid component) or 90 ng/ml in red blood cells, where the normal values are indicated. Laboratory studies have reported several potential mechanisms for selenium's beneficial effects in prostate cancer prevention, including a decrease in androgen receptors and PSA production, angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) inhibition, and increased antioxidant effects including cancer cell apoptosis (cell death).
  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to products containing selenium. Avoid with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer.
  • Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence:
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture, or the use of needles to manipulate the "chi" or body energy, originated in China over 5,000 years ago. While limited evidence suggests benefit may be possible, there is insufficient available evidence to recommend either for or against the use of acupuncture in prostatitis.
  • Needles must be sterile in order to avoid disease transmission. Avoid with valvular heart disease, infections, bleeding disorders or with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding (anticoagulants), medical conditions of unknown origin, or neurological disorders. Avoid on areas that have received radiation therapy. Use cautiously with pulmonary disease (like asthma or emphysema). Use cautiously in elderly or medically compromised patients, diabetics or with history of seizures. Avoid electroacupuncture with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or in patients with pacemakers.
  • African wild potato: African wild potato has been studied as a possible treatment option for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Additional research is needed to make a conclusion.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to African wild potato or any species of the Hypoxidaceae family. Use cautiously with diabetes, liver disease or damage, HIV/AIDS, and kidney disease or damage.
  • Calcium: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. There is currently a lack of agreement among studies on the relationship between calcium and prostate cancer risk. Until this is clarified, it is reasonable for men to consume recommended intakes as per the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Treatment of prostate cancer should only be done under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to calcium or lactose. High doses taken by mouth may cause kidney stones. Avoid with high levels of calcium in the blood, high levels of calcium in urine, hyperparathyroidism (overgrowth of the parathyroid glands), bone tumors, digitalis toxicity, ventricular fibrillation (rapid, irregular twitching of heart muscle), kidney stones, kidney disease, or sarcoidosis (inflammatory disease). Calcium supplements made from dolomite, oyster shells, or bone meal may contain unacceptable levels of lead. Use cautiously with achlorhydria or irregular heartbeat.
  • Coenzyme Q10: Limited available study using a combination that included CoQ10 did not find a significant effect on PSA levels in patients with prostate cancer. Although PSA levels may be an indicator of cancer, it is unclear whether CoQ10 would have any effect on cancer treatment of prevention. More study is needed in this area.
  • Allergy associated with Coenzyme Q10 supplements has not been reported, although rash and itching have been reported rarely. Stop use two weeks before surgery/dental/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risk and do not use immediately after these procedures. Use caution with a history of blood clots, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke, or with anticoagulants (blood thinners) or antiplatelet drugs (like aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel (like Plavix®), or blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol or thyroid drugs.
  • Danshen: Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), often in combination with other herbs. Early studies have found that danshen in combination with routine western medicine was not as effective as warming needle moxibustion for prostatitis. More studies are warranted in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to danshen. Use cautiously if taking sedatives, hypolipidemics, cardiac glycosides, CYP-metabolized agents, nitrate ester, steroidal agents, or some anti-inflammatories (e.g. ibuprofen). Use cautiously with altered immune states, arrhythmia, compromised liver function, or a history of glaucoma, stroke, or ulcers. Stop use two weeks before and immediately after surgery/dental/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risks. Use cautiously if driving or operating heavy machinery. Avoid if taking blood thinners (anticoagulants), digoxin, or hypotensives, including ACE inhibitors (e.g. captopril), or Sophora subprostrata root or herba serissae. Avoid use after cerebral ischemia.
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil: Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) and its derivative flaxseed oil/linseed oil are rich sources of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is a biologic precursor to omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid. There is limited high quality research of the effects of flaxseed or alpha-linolenic acid (which is in flaxseed) on prostate cancer risk. This area remains controversial as there is some data reporting possible increased risk of prostate cancer with alpha linolenic acid. Prostate cancer should be treated by a medical oncologist.
  • Flaxseed has been well-tolerated in studies for up to four months. Avoid if allergic to flaxseed, flaxseed oil or other plants of the Linaceae family. Avoid large amounts of flaxseed by mouth and mix with plenty of water or liquid. Avoid flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) with history of esophageal stricture, ileus, gastrointestinal stricture or bowel obstruction. Avoid with history of acute or chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease. Avoid topical flaxseed with open wounds or abraded skin surfaces. Use cautiously with history of a bleeding disorder or with drugs that cause bleeding (like anticoagulants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (like aspirin, warfarin, Advil®)), high triglyceride levels, diabetes, mania, seizures or asthma. Avoid ingestion of immature flaxseed pods.
  • Lycopene: High levels of lycopene are found in tomatoes and in tomato-based products. Tomatoes are also sources of other nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Early studies examining tomato-based products and blood lycopene levels suggest that lycopene may be associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and may help stimulate the immune system. Laboratory studies have reported that lycopene inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells. Patients diagnosed with benign prostatic hypertrophy or enlarged prostate may be at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer and may benefit from taking lycopene supplements. Further studies are necessary before lycopene may be recommended. Avoid if allergic to tomatoes or to lycopene.
  • Modified citrus pectin: Pectins are gel-forming polysaccharides from plant cell walls, especially apple and citrus fruits. Modified citrus pectin may reduce the metastasis (spread to other areas of the body) of certain types of cancers, including lung, prostate, and breast cancer. More research is needed in this area, especially with other types of cancer and with other criteria for prostate cancer progression.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to modified citrus pectin. MCP may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in patients allergic or sensitive to MCP. Use cautiously if taking chelating medications or if under treatment for cancer. Use cautiously if taking oral drugs, herbs, or supplements as MCP may reduce or slow their absorption. Use cautiously in geriatric patients or patients with gastrointestinal disorders.
  • PC-SPES: Studies of PC-SPES® have reported improvements in patients with prostate cancer. Overall, these studies found prostate-specificantigen (PSA) levels to fall by greater than 50% in most patients, improvements in bone scans and x-rays, reductions in pain scores, and improvements in quality of life. In addition, PC-SPES® extracts were reported to cause cell death (apoptosis) or to slow the growth of cancer cell lines. Because of these complicated circumstances, and the fact that PC-SPES® has never been compared to placebo or standard cancer treatments in a well-reported study, the question of effectiveness remains unclear.
  • Note: PC-SPES ® has been recalled from the U.S. market and should not be used. Based on safety concerns associated with PC-SPES®, no dosage is recommended.
  • Physical therapy: The goal of physical therapy, or physiotherapy, is to improve mobility, restore function, reduce pain, and prevent further injury. There is currently insufficient available evidence to support the use of physical therapy for chronic prostatitis. Additional studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
  • Not all physical therapy programs are suited for everyone, and patients should discuss their medical history with their qualified healthcare professionals before beginning any treatments. Based on the available literature, physical therapy appears generally safe when practiced by a qualified physical therapist; however, complications are possible. Persistent pain and fractures of unknown origin have been reported. Physical therapy may increase the duration of pain or cause limitation of motion. Pain and anxiety may occur during the rehabilitation of patients with burns. Both morning stiffness and bone erosion have been reported in the physical therapy literature, although causality is unclear. Erectile dysfunction has also been reported.
  • Pomegranate: Consumption of pomegranate juice may be beneficial to patients with prostate cancer. Although early study is promising, more study is needed to a make a conclusion.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to pomegranate. Avoid with diarrhea or high or low blood pressure. Avoid taking pomegranate fruit husk with oil or fats to treat parasites. Pomegranate root/stem bark should only be used under supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Use cautiously with liver damage or disease.
  • Quercetin: Quercetin is one of the almost 4,000 bioflavonoids (antioxidants) that occur in foods of plant origin, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, and brassica vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips). There is some evidence that quercetin may be useful for the treatment of chronic prostatitis.
  • Quercetin is generally considered safe when taken at doses normally found in foods. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to quercetin. Possible eye, skin, gastrointestinal and/or respiratory tract infection can occur.
  • Red clover: Red clover is a legume that has plant-based chemicals that are similar to estrogen. Red clover isoflavones may have estrogen-like properties in the body, and have been proposed as a possible therapy in prostate cancer. Well designed human research is lacking in this area. There is also only limited study of red clover for benign prostatic hypertrophy. More research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
  • Avoid if allergic to red clover or other isoflavones. Use cautiously if taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Use cautiously with a history of a bleeding disorder or if taking drugs that thin the blood.
  • Saw palmetto: There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the product PC-SPES® (which contains saw palmetto) for prostate cancer. PC-SPES® also contains seven other herbs (Chrysanthemum morifolium, Isatis indigotica, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Ganoderma lucidum, Panax pseudo-ginseng, Rabdosia rubescens, and Scutellaria baicalensis). It has been a popular treatment for prostate cancer, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning not to use PC-SPES® because it contains the anticoagulant chemical warfarin and may cause bleeding.
  • A prospective, randomized, open label, one-year study was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of saw palmetto and finasteride in the treatment of men diagnosed with category III prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain (CP/CPPS). CP/CPPS treated with saw palmetto had no appreciable long-term improvement. In contrast, patients treated with finasteride had significant and durable improvement in multiple parameters except for voiding.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to saw palmetto. Use cautiously with a history of health conditions involving the stomach, liver, heart, or lungs; hormone-sensitive conditions; or bleeding disorders. Use cautiously with drugs that thin the blood or hormonal drugs.
  • Soy: Early research has tested the effects of dietary soy intake on prostate cancer development in humans, but the results have not been conclusive. Better research is needed before a recommendation can be made for prostate cancer prevention.
  • Caution is advised when taking soy supplements, as numerous adverse effects including an increased risk of drug interactions are possible.
  • Stinging nettle: Stinging nettle is used rather frequently in Europe in the treatment of symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Early evidence suggests an improvement in symptoms, such as the alleviation of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with stage I or II BPH, as a result of nettle therapy. Additional study is warranted in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to nettle, members of the Urticaceae family, or any ingredient of nettle products. Use cautiously with diabetes, bleeding disorders, low sodium levels in the blood). Use cautiously with diuretics and anti-inflammatory drugs. The elderly should also use nettle cautiously.
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C has been associated with a reduced risk of various types of cancer in population studies. However, it is not clear that it is specifically the vitamin C in these foods that is beneficial, and vitamin C supplements have not been found to be associated with this protective effect. Experts have recommended increasing dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, such as apples, asparagus, berries, broccoli, cabbage, melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), cauliflower, citrus fruits (lemons, oranges), fortified breads/grains/cereal, kale, kiwi, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. Vitamin C has a long history of adjunctive use in cancer therapy, and although there have not been any definitive studies using intravenous (or oral) vitamin C, there is evidence that it has benefit in some cases. Vitamin C has been used in prostate cancer, however, there is currently a lack of evidence to determine its specific effect in this condition.
  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to vitamin C product ingredients. Vitamin C is generally considered safe in amounts found in foods. Vitamin C supplements are also generally considered safe in most individuals if taken in recommended doses. Large doses (greater than 2 grams) may cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset. Avoid high doses of vitamin C with glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, kidney disorders or stones, cirrhosis (inflammation of the liver), gout, or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (bleeding disorder).
  • Vitamin E: The role of vitamin E supplementation for prostate cancer prevention is controversial. There are numerous laboratory studies that support possible anti-cancer properties. However, the results of population research and human research have been mixed, with some studies reporting benefits and others finding no effects. Vitamin E succinate (one specific form of vitamin E) has been reported in laboratory studies to inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells.
  • Caution is merited in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, because it has been proposed that the use of high-dose antioxidants may actually reduce the anti-cancer effects of these therapies. This remains an area of controversy and studies have produced variable results. Patients interested in using high-dose antioxidants such as vitamin E during chemotherapy or radiation should discuss this decision with their medical oncologist or radiation oncologist. Caution is advised when taking vitamin E supplements, as numerous adverse effects including an increased risk of bleeding and drug interactions are possible. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin E. Avoid with retinitis pigmentosa (loss of peripheral vision). Use cautiously with bleeding disorders or if taking blood thinners.
  • Zinc: Early studies suggest that zinc supplements taken with antibiotics may be more effective than antibiotics alone for reducing pain, urinary symptoms, quality of life, and maximum urethra closure pressure for patients with chronic prostatitis (CP). Further research is needed to confirm these results.
  • Zinc is generally considered safe when taken at the recommended dosages. Avoid zinc chloride since studies have not been done on its safety or effectiveness.
  • Fair negative scientific evidence:
  • Vitamin D: There is preliminary evidence suggesting that high-dose vitamin D may be beneficial in the treatment of prostate cancer. This area is under active investigation, but clear evidence of benefit is not yet available.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin D or any of its components. Vitamin D is generally well-tolerated in recommended doses; doses higher than recommended may cause toxic effects. Use cautiously with hyperparathyroidism (overactive thyroid), kidney disease, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and histoplasmosis.

Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

Types and causes of prostate conditions
  • Prostatis: Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland usually caused by an infection that often affects younger men. With treatment, prostatitis should generally be alleviated within several days to two weeks. Treatment of chronic (long-term) bacterial prostatitis usually involves antimicrobial medication for four to 12 weeks. This type of prostatitis is difficult to treat and recurrence is possible.
  • Prostatitis usually results from blockage or irritation of some of the ducts within the prostate gland, and the cause may be mechanical (such as narrowing of the urethra) or infectious. The infectious causes may be viral or bacterial, including E. coli or sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydia.
  • There are four types of prostatitis: acute bacterial prostatitis (the least common of the four types, but the most common in men under 35); chronic bacterial (not very common, but affects mostly men between 40-70 years); asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis (produces no outward symptoms and occurs mainly in men aged 60 and over); and chronic nonbacterial/prostadynia (most common type). Prostadynia, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is a condition associated with similar symptoms as chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, but which has no evidence of prostate inflammation.
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a normal, gradual enlargement of the prostate caused by hormonal fluctuations, such as decreases in testosterone and increases in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estrogen in prostate tissue. BPH usually beings in middle age. BPH does not lead to cancer. BPH does not generally cause pain, but discomfort (a feeling of pressure) in the groin area is generally found.
  • As the prostate enlarges, it presses against the urethra and interferes with urination. At the same time, the bladder wall becomes thicker and irritated and begins to contract, even when it contains small amounts of urine, which causes more frequent urination. And, as the bladder continues to weaken, it may not empty completely leaving some urine behind. Blocking or narrowing of the urethra by the prostate and partial emptying of the bladder cause many of the problems associated with BPH.
  • BPH affects about half of men aged over 60 and 80% of men aged 80 or older; it is considered to be a condition related to aging. Almost every man over 45 has some prostate enlargement, but symptoms are rarely felt before the age of 60. BPH affects all men differently and therefore treatment varies.
  • Prostate cancer: As men get older (after age 50), their risk of prostate cancer increases. Men above 50 years of age should be checked for prostate cancer routinely by their doctor, and men with risk factors for developing prostate cancer (including family history of prostate cancer, multiple family members with prostate cancer, and/or African heritage), should talk to their doctor about starting this screening at a younger age such as 40.
  • Prostate cancer exhibits tremendous differences in incidence among populations worldwide. Asian men typically have a very low incidence of prostate cancer, with age-adjusted incidence rates ranging from 2-10 per 100,000 men. Higher incidence rates are generally observed in northern European countries. African men, however, have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. In the United States, African American men have a 60% higher incidence rate compared with Caucasian men.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting one in six men. More than 218,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. Healthcare professionals recommend men 50 years of age and older get screened for prostate cancer.
  • If an immediate family member such as a father or brother has prostate cancer, the risk of developing the disease is greater than that of the average American man. Between 5-10% of prostate cancer cases are believed to be due primarily to high-risk inherited genetic factors or prostate cancer susceptibility genes. The survival rate indicates the percentage of patients who live a specific number of years after the cancer is diagnosed. For prostate cancer, the 10-year survival rate is 93% and the 15-year survival rate is 77%.
  • A high-fat diet and obesity may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers theorize that fat increases production of the hormone testosterone, which may promote the development of prostate cancer cells. Obese men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have more than two-and-a-half times the risk of dying from the disease as compared to men of normal weight at the time of diagnosis. Scientists believe that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer by increasing inflammation and steroid hormones, such as testosterone.
  • Because testosterone naturally stimulates the growth of the prostate gland, men who have high levels of testosterone and men who use testosterone (steroid) therapy are more likely to develop prostate cancer than are men who have lower levels of testosterone. Long-term testosterone treatment could cause prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Also, doctors are concerned that testosterone therapy might fuel the growth of prostate cancer that is already present.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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