Our bodies are highly sophisticated machines that need to be properly taken care of in order to function to their fullest. Most people know that an unhealthy diet, lack or exercise and your family’s medical history are risk factors for poor prostate health, including prostate cancer.
However, recent scientific research has shown us just how delicate our bodies really are, throwing out unusual risk factors for prostate cancer such as; height, where you live and the sex of your offspring. These five are risk factors for prostate cancer that we have very little control over.
Finally some good news for those struggling with a Napoleon complex; it seems being tall isn’t always an advantage. Scientists aren’t quite sure why this is a factor in prostate health, but several studies in both the US and UK have shown a link between height and the chances of developing prostate cancer.
The studies showed that taller men had on average a 19% higher risk of developing the disease than their shorter counterparts. In addition, age offered no defense; under 65s taller than 6’3” were found to have an increased risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Further studies are planned to determine whether growth hormones or genetics play a role in these increased risks.
You won’t be shocked to read that touching yourself too much doesn’t actually lead to blindness. However, it isn’t all good news; masturbation does affect prostate health. Scientists at England’s Nottingham University found that men aged between 20-35 who masturbated or were otherwise more sexually active relative to their peers had increased rates of prostate cancer. The one ray of sunshine; they found the opposite is true as we get older, with those more sexually active amongst over 50’s carrying a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
3) Hand Measurements
If your personal physician told you that the simplest way to test for the risk of developing prostate cancer in the under-60s was to measure the index and ring finger, you might think he had lost his marbles. However, bizarre as it may sound, your doctor would be correct.
A team of researchers from Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research and The University of Warwick found that “that relative finger length could be used as a simple test for prostate cancer risk, particularly in men aged under 60”. According to the scientists, a man whose index finger is longer than his ring finger has one-third the risk of developing prostate cancer than his fellow whose index finger is the same length or shorter than his ring finger.
Why this has any connection to prostate health is a bit of a mystery, although speculation has centered on the role of testosterone during fetal development. Relative finger length is known to inversely correlate to the levels of testosterone a child is exposed to during fetal development- the higher the levels of testosterone, the shorter the index finger. However, no direct causal link has been established and the increased risk of prostate cancer may well be caused by genetic or a combination of factors.
4) Male Pattern Baldness
The silver lining to losing your hair is that bald men are often said to be sexier than their fully-thatched counterparts. Perhaps this is because testosterone- the hormone which regulates many masculine behaviors- is known to play a role in male pattern baldness. However, as far as your prostate health is concerned, its bad news I’m afraid. A recent long-term study shows a direct link between baldness and prostate cancer. Its findings showed that men with any degree of hair loss were 56% more likely to die from prostate cancer than those who showed no signs of balding. These results confirm the findings of a 2012 Australian study which showed men with any degree of hair loss were 69% more likely to develop prostate cancer.
The fruit of our loins are our pride and joy. Daughters in particular are precious; sweet and adorable creatures who we’d gladly lay down our lives for. Well, as it turns out we may have no choice. After studying close to 40,000 men, a team of researchers have reached a stunning conclusion. Their research demonstrated that men who have only female offspring have as much as a 60% higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer when compared with those men who have only sons.
Some might say that living in a house full of women was bound to eventually tax the health of even the most vigorous male specimen. However, the research team have suggested that genetic factors are the most likely explanation for this anomaly.
What can you do to reduce the risks and boost prostate health?
Of course these increased risk factors for prostate cancer are just that, risks. Even a tall, libidinous, balding man with short fingers and whose daughters are simply charming is not a guaranteed to develop prostate cancer. Even so, if you do identify one or more of these risks factors as applicable to yourself you do need to take precautions and act to improve your prostate health. After all, only a fool ignores the danger.
Understanding even the minor risks associated with prostate cancer allows you to better plan any precautionary steps you might want to take, including the frequency of screening. It’s also important to make sure that your general health is maintained through regular exercise and following the Paleo / Ketogenic diet principles.
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Harlap, S. et al. “Prostate Cancer In Fathers With Fewer Male Offspring: The Jerusalem Perinatal Study Cohort”. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute 99.1 (2007): 77-81. Web.
“Prostate Cancer Risk Factors”. Cancer Research UK. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Aug. 2016.
Rahman AA, Lophatananon A, Stewart-Brown S, et al. Hand pattern indicates prostate cancer risk. British Journal of Cancer. 2011;104(1):175-177. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605986.
“SEXUAL ACTIVITY AND PROSTATE CANCER RISK IN MEN DIAGNOSED AT A YOUNGER AGE”. BJU International 103.8 (2009): 1142-1143. Web.
Zhou, Cindy Ke et al. “Male Pattern Baldness In Relation To Prostate Cancer–Specific Mortality: A Prospective Analysis In The NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study”. Am. J. Epidemiol.183.3 (2016): 210-217. Web.
Zuccolo L, Harris R, Gunnell D, et al. Height and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Large Nested Case-Control Study (ProtecT) and Meta-analysis. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 2008;17(9):2325-2336. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0342.