28 November 2012

Move Over, 'Movember'—Make Way for 'Cukember'

In a perhaps vain attempt to steal some thunder from the big pink monster that October has become, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong have gotten together to dub November "Movember" and are encouraging men to grow moustaches as a way to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. What does growing facial hair have to do with combating cancers of the male reproductive organs? Just about as much as wearing pink T-shirts has to do with battling breast cancer, i.e., not all that much.

Don't get me wrong—it's a cute idea—but the average person spotting a mustachioed man walking down the street isn't going to immediately think, "Prostate cancer—I must learn more about that!" Why, they might just as well call it "Meowvember" and urge people to adopt shelter cats with "moustaches," which my ex-shelter cat Teddy would wholeheartedly support.

© Kencredible

Another idea would be to rename November "Cukember" as a reminder that cucumbers—and strawberries, broccoli, beans, and other healthy vegan foods—can help prevent prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and many other cancers. There's even a sassy new PETA U.K. public service announcement featuring men, ahem, celebrating the benefits of veggies that's tailor-made for such a promotion.

Several studies have shown a link between animal products and prostate cancer. A study of prostate cancer patients found that those who consumed eggs and chicken with skin had a two-fold increase in the risk of the disease progressing. study published just last year indicated a link between grilled, barbecued, and well-done meat and aggressive prostate cancer.According to the World Cancer Research Fund, 11 separate population studies have tied dairy consumption to prostate cancer, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that men who consumed high amounts of dairy products had a 70 percent increased risk of prostate cancer. Studies have also shown a link between dairy consumption and testicular cancer.

By contrast, another study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains can slow or even halt the progression of the disease. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower; leafy greens like spinach and kale; green tea; tomatoes; and fruits like red grapes and blueberries are loaded with anti-cancer phytochemicals. Beans, lentils, and whole grains contain cancer-fighting antioxidants as well as fiber, which helps rid your body of excess hormones that can contribute to reproductive cancer growth.

So, guys, if you want to get busy battling cancer, put down your moustache wax and pick up some wax beans on your way home from work. Hint: They taste great sautéed with cranberries or almonds

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry.

Photo credit: © Kencredible