Inflammation, a natural defense process against germs, can sometimes get involved in complex interactions with cancer.
While inflammation is a normal defense mechanism the body uses to ward off intruders, it can, at times, become a double-edged sword, turning against us in various ways.
Ongoing research explores the intricate relationship between inflammation and prostate cancer. While some studies suggest a potential connection, it’s imperative to consult with a healthcare professional for a more comprehensive understanding.
In this article, we’re covering the topic of inflammation in prostate cancer. After this consideration, we’re recommending some ways in which you can reduce inflammation,
Let us dive into the topic and take a closer look.
Inflammation And Prostate Cancer Risk
Prostate cancer and inflammation share a significant connection. Research has unveiled that men with chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue are at a heightened risk of developing prostate cancer.
In particular, individuals with even a single tissue sample displaying persistent inflammation have a 1.78 times higher likelihood of developing prostate carcinoma. Moreover, there is a 2.24 times higher probability of developing an aggressive form of the disease. This link between inflammation and prostate cancer risk remains relevant even for patients with low PSA levels.
The National Institutes of Health have identified that chronic inflammation plays a contributing role in the progression and development of prostate cancer. Following this, there appears to be an association between sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and prostatitis, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Mitigating Risk with Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
It is worth noting that taking antioxidants and anti-inflammatory drugs can potentially reduce the risk and make individuals less susceptible to prostate cancer. A meta-analysis has demonstrated that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide a protective effect, potentially lowering the risk by 5-8%.
Addressing Inflammation with Medications
Medications with anti-inflammatory properties, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, can also aid in managing inflammation, which is beneficial for conditions like arthritis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
In summary, the connection between prostate cancer and inflammation is notable, as chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue can significantly elevate the risk of developing prostate cancer. This highlights the importance of addressing inflammation to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Chronic Inflammation VS Acute Inflammation
In the context of inflammation, there are two primary types: acute and chronic.
- Acute inflammation: typically appears suddenly and serves a crucial role in wound healing. It is the type of inflammation that often accompanies fractures, trauma, and other physical injuries. Although it can be painful at times, acute inflammation is generally beneficial, as it enhances blood flow to the affected area to promote faster healing. It also boosts the immune response against microbes by increasing the migration of white blood cells.
- Chronic inflammation: is characterized by a low-grade, sustained inflammatory response that may not cause immediate pain. While it may go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years, the long-term effects of chronic inflammation are not associated with pain. Instead, it can contribute to the deterioration of internal organs and increase the risk of various diseases.
How does chronic inflammation end up in cancer?
Cancer cells grow disproportionately to the surrounding tissues. To keep growing, these aberrant cells need more nutrients and more blood flow. They also need new blood vessels to feed the growing tumor. Otherwise, it would not continue growing, and distant cells would die away from starvation.
The immune system uses inflammation to work against pathogens. But when it is sustained for a long time, low-grade inflammation can wear us down. Inflammatory markers in the blood can predict the aggressiveness of cancer and the onset of chronic disease. High inflammatory potential can also increase prostate cancer risk.
Short-term chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation contributes in many ways. In the short term, it increases the blood flow and feeds cancer cells with more nutrients.
Long-term chronic inflammation
In the long term, inflammatory substances trigger blood vessel formation. Thus, it allows tumors to keep growing and promotes the process of cancer spreading (1).
Inflammation and prostatitis
The most problematic kind of prostate inflammation is called prostatitis.
We have four main types of prostatitis:
1) Acute bacterial prostatitis: Inflammation caused by bacteria invading the prostate and causing symptoms.
2) Chronic bacterial prostatitis: Prolonged inflammation, sometimes mildly symptomatic, triggered by bacterial invasion of the prostate.
3) Chronic prostatitis with chronic pelvic pain syndrome: A type of chronic prostatitis whose primary symptom is chronic pelvic pain. This pain is continuous and sometimes severe, affecting the patient’s quality of life.
4) Asymptomatic prostatitis: Patients with ongoing inflammation who do not feel symptoms.
How does inflammation turn into prostate cancer?
Inflammation and prostate cancer are closely connected through substances called cytokines. These are like messengers that control inflammation. One important cytokine is MIC-1, which goes up when someone has prostate cancer, and it can tell us how severe the cancer might be.
Another one is IL-6, and it’s like a troublemaker in prostate cancer. It’s found all over the tumor in cancer patients. When cancer spreads, IL-6 levels go up in the blood. If the cancer is really bad, IL-6 levels are even higher. Recent studies show that IL-6 can help turn on androgen receptors in the prostate tissue, which is bad news because it makes the cancer grow faster and become more aggressive. (12)
Additionally, inflammation can also create problems in the prostate tissue, like lesions called PIA. These areas have cells that are trying to heal, but sometimes they turn into prostate cancer, especially when the DNA in those cells gets messed up. (13)
In a nutshell, the transition between inflammation and prostate cancer goes like this:
- You have inflammatory risk factors such as infections and dietary factors
- Inflammation causes damage to the prostate tissue and triggers cytokines
- The inflammatory tissue undergoes atrophy in lesions known as PIA
- Cytokines contribute to activating androgen receptors and rapid growth
- PIA tissue tries to regenerate. If there was genetic damage, cancer starts to grow
- Inflammatory cytokines continue facilitating tumor growth and metastasis
How to prevent inflammation?
To effectively prevent inflammation and improve prostate health, there are several key strategies you can employ, including dietary changes and other lifestyle changes. Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Incorporate Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Focus on foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables. Berries, leafy greens, and colorful fruits are excellent choices. These can help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts.
- Limit Red Meat and Processed Foods: Reduce your consumption of red meat and processed foods, which can contribute to inflammation. Opt for lean protein sources and whole grains instead.
- Herbs and Spices: Utilize herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic, known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Hydration: Ensure you drink an enough water daily to maintain good urinary health and flush out toxins from your body.
Regular physical activity can help reduce inflammation and support overall well-being. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Chronic stress can increase inflammation. Therefore, practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can help.
Early detection and treatment of urologic infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, are vital. Regular check-ups can help identify and address potential issues promptly.
If you experience symptoms like frequent urination, pain, or discomfort, consult a healthcare professional.
Address prostatitis issues promptly. Consult a urologist for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Consider prostate supplements, as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Smoking and Alcohol:
It is important to avoid or limit smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which can contribute to inflammation and other health issues.
Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Obesity is linked with higher levels of inflammation. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a good diet and regular exercise.
Try to prioritize quality sleep as it plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation and supporting overall health.
Inflammation and its link to cancer are pretty clear. It shows up in colon, invasive breast, and prostate cancers, as well as in heart disease and clogged arteries.
Now, our immune system uses inflammation to fight off bad stuff, which is good. But when it sticks around for too long at a low level, it can really tire us out. If you’ve got a bunch of inflammation markers in your blood, it could be a sign that cancer or chronic diseases might be lurking around the corner. Plus, having high inflammation potential can up your odds of getting prostate cancer.
But remember, cutting the risk isn’t the same as getting rid of it completely. You should still rely on your doc’s advice and get checked out if you’re at risk. So, don’t brush off urinary issues, and chat with your doctor if you’re wondering about prostate cancer screening.
Find out 10 Best Foods For Prostate Health.