Hate the Mo, Love the Movember

mustache_knit_movember_header Every year the month of November – or Movember – is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world.

Movember is so prevalent that even the respectable practitioners at my new clinic will be rocking ‘70s staches for the month.

Movember was conceived of in 1999 by a group of Australian men from Adelaide, Australia, and made its way to Canada in 2007. With the growth of their “mos”, men all around the globe raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues like prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, initially producing no symptoms. It may metastasize, or spread, from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. The symptoms that do eventually appear can be very disruptive: pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, and erectile dysfunction are among the most severe. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.

Current screening tests are blood PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) and a yearly digital rectal examination. The treatment options for prostate cancer vary depending on the age and health of the patient and the extent of the cancer. Surgical removal of the prostate gland, radiation, anti-hormone therapy and “watchful waiting” are all common treatments, depending on the stage and extent of the disease.

Because there are so few symptoms initially, it’s very important for men to know their risk factors, be informed about preventative strategies, and aware of yearly screenings to diagnose prostate cancer early (when it’s more treatable).

The following tips will help in the prevention of prostate cancer and the promotion of prostate health:


Diet, diet, diet

A diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids from purified fish and low in saturated animal fat, high in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts etc), low in simple carbohydrates and refined sugar, high in fiber foods to insure proper elimination and promote bowel health.


Milk Thistle

Silymarin, typically protective to the liver and found in the herb milk thistle has been shown in vitro and in vivo to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth (Molecular Carcinogenesis 2006;45(6):436-42).


Green tea

Several studies have confirmed green tea as a potent agent against many cancers, including prostate cancer. A recent small double-blind human trial demonstrated that green tea was effective at treating premalignant prostate lesions and also showed that green tea reduced urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH (Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy 2006;6(4):507-13).



Beta-sitosterol is one of the most abundant phytosterols in the diet and is commonly found in many plants, legumes and botanicals such as saw palmetto (Serona repens) and pygeum (Pygeum africanum). It is thought to be one of the key active ingredients in many of the prostate-specific herbs and is present in many combination products for male and prostate health. Preclinical research has demonstrated that beta-sitosterol inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cell lines (Jourdain C, Tenca G, Deguercy A, et al.  2006. Eur J Cancer Prev, 15(4):353-61).



The pomegranate fruit has been studied considerably demonstrating antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, indicating that it may be useful in the treatment and prevention of certain cancers, specifically prostate cancer (Altern Med Rev 2008;13(2):128-144).

A recent human clinical trial featuring men with rising PSA levels demonstrated that drinking just 8 oz of pure pomegranate juice daily was effective at stabilizing PSA levels up to four times longer than normal, potentially delaying the growth of prostate cancer cells


Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps protect again prostate cancer and is especially deficient during the winter months (Van Veldhuizen PJ, Taylor SA, Williamson S, Drees BM. J Urol 2000).



In vitro, CoQ10 significantly lowered human prostate cancer cell growth (Biofactors 2002;18(1-4):265-70).


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, enhances immune function, and protects against carcinogens. It is suggested that Vitamin C can protect against abnormal cell growth and reduce one’s risk of cancer.


Eat Your Greens

Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) is a compound found in high concentrations in Brassica family vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Studies have shown that I3C has the potential to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in human prostate cancer cells as well as suppress abnormal cell growth in the prostate and inhibit the formation of the more potent/toxic form of testosterone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) (Chinni SR, Li Y, Upadhyay S, et al. Oncogene 2001).


Cut Your Stress

Stress management is essential to prostate health. Reducing stress helps lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and boosts the immune system enhancing optimal health.


Get your yearly prostate exam!

Men of any age should have a baseline PSA then a yearly check of PSA starting at the age of 40 along with an annual digital rectal exam.

Happy Movember!

Blog, Men's HealthDoctor Marita