Men's health

Testicular cancer

This type of cancer is most common in men younger than 35 years. A poor diet may not be related to this cancer, but it is important to have healthy eating habits anyway.

Signs of this cancer could be:

  • Lump (could be as small as the size of a pea, usually painless)
  • Swelling of testicles
  • Hardening of testicles

If found early, testicular cancer can be easily treated and cured, so it's important to do regular self-examinations to look for the above signs.

Prostate cancer

The prostate gland lies just under the bladder and it produces fluid that transports sperm cells.

Prostate cancer is more common in older men.

It is suggested that men older than 40 visit their Doctor yearly for a rectal exam and blood levels for PSA (prostate-specific antigen).

As with most health issues, men who have a family history of prostate cancer are more at risk of developing it.

If you are younger and have the following symptoms, you should contact your Doctor:

  • Difficulty in urinating
  • A feeling of burning during urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the pelvic bone, spine or ribs

A healthy diet may help prevent the formation of this cancer.

Research shows that lycopene (the compound that gives tomatoes their bright red colour) may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Vitamin E is also thought to help decrease the risk.

In terms of your diet, you should include these foods

  • Tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato relish, tomato juice
  • Papayas, watermelon
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts and olive oil (in moderation)

Colon/bowel cancer

This type of cancer affects both men and women - likely symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Blood in the stools

Some reasons for developing colon cancer may be:

  • Poor eating habits
  • Excessive consumption of red meat
  • Low consumption of fibre (roughage)
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking

Heart disease

Heart disease is prevalent in South Africa. Symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain which may be accompanied by:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain which moves to the neck, jaw or arms
  • Dizziness
  • Perspiration
  • Fast/irregular pulse

Contact your doctor or clinic immediately if you experience these symptoms.

Healthy lifestyle principles for the prevention of cancers and heart disease:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Include at least 5 different vegetables and fruit daily
  • Make starchy food the basis of most meals (such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, baby potatoes, pasta, wholewheat bread and wholegrain cereals)
  • Eat LEAN proteins (lean pork fillet, skinless chicken, grilled fish, tuna, salmon, dried beans, lentils)
  • Decrease your intake of red meat. When braaing meat, do not burn it!
  • Limit fats and fatty foods such as butter, margarine, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, pies, pastries and fried foods. Include avocadoes, unsalted nuts, olives, olive oil and seeds in moderation.
  • Enjoy dairy products - but choose low fat or fat-free products
  • Drink lots of water
  • If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly!
  • Be active in any way - walk/cycle/swim/go to gym
  • Try to quit smoking!

For further information on how to prevent heart disease, read ''Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart'' under the Good Health Section.

**If you need more advice, click on the ''Ask the Dietitian'' to pose a question to our Registered Dietitian

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided by the SPAR Group Ltd for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.