Prostate Health


The prostate gland forms part of the male reproductive system. It is a small walnut-shaped gland that is situated below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that empties urine from the bladder. 

Human heart anatomy

Cancer of the prostate gland is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It often progresses slowly and is usually confined to the prostate, but in some cases, it can be aggressive and can spread throughout the body.

Many older men develop an enlarged prostate because, as they age, hormonal changes can cause the prostate to become enlarged. The prostate can be enlarged without being cancerous, but it is important to have a medical check-up if you experience any symptoms.

Symptoms related to an enlarged prostate gland or prostate cancer include: 

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Weakened urine flow
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bone pain

When the DNA in prostate cells changes it causes abnormal cells to develop faster than healthy cells, and cancer can develop.

Changes in androgen hormones can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland regulate hormone function. The two main androgens are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). These are produced predominantly in the testicles, but the adrenal glands also make them. The prostate can convert testosterone to DHT which can stimulate abnormal cell growth in the prostate gland, causing enlargement and cancer.

To maintain a healthy prostate gland you can do the following: 

Have regular check-up’s with your doctor – blood tests and physical examinations are essential to keep track of your prostate gland. If problems are detected early, treatment is the most successful.

Eat a healthy diet – fruits and vegetables contain an array of vitamins and antioxidants. Lycopene is especially good for prostate health. Tomatoes, red fruits, guavas, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and apricots are good sources.

Reduce red meat consumption – especially chargrilled (braaied) meats. Charred meat forms chemical compounds which can trigger cancers.

Exercise regularly – exercise is good for overall health, mood, and weight management, but it also improves circulation which is necessary for getting oxygen and nutrients around the body.

Maintain a healthy weight – the risk for prostate cancer is higher in obese individuals

Manage stress – long-term stress can weaken the immune system and disrupt hormonal balance in the body

Stop smoking –Tobacco produces carbon monoxide which clings to red blood cells causing cell death, which can result in prostate cancer.

There are some nutrients that are supportive of a healthy prostate gland, and these include zinc, vitamin C, and omega 3 fatty acids. Ideally you would want to be getting these from a balanced diet, but they can be added in supplemental form if necessary.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 29 September 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am