Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men, in part because there is no proven strategy to prevent it. Even so, there are a number of preventative steps you can take to lower your chances of contracting the disease.
Certain risk factors are beyond your ability to change, but others can be actioned immediately. Let’s look at how you can reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer.
Before we get to the factors you can control, here are a few you cannot. Age and race play significant roles in your chances of developing prostate cancer. The odds increase as you age, with the average diagnosis happening at the age of 66 1.
Approximately one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, but those odds are even greater among the non-Hispanic Black community. Compared to white men, those with African ancestry are 1.7 times more likely to develop – and 2.1 times more likely to pass away from – prostate cancer 2.
Genetics is another factor you can’t avoid. If you have a father, brother, uncle, or other blood relative who has contracted prostate cancer, your odds are higher. If you have any of these risk factors, you may be wondering about preventative measures you can take.
Change Up Your Meals
Regardless of your age, race, or genetics, making healthy changes to your diet can lower your odds. Although the relationship between diet and prostate cancer is not fully understood, studies recommend certain foods to embrace and avoid.
You should consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous veggies contain sulforaphane, a compound that might protect against cancer. Tomatoes also appear to stunt the growth of cancer cells 3.
Another important dietary change involves limiting your intake of trans and saturated fats. Avoid consuming any meat that has been charred from grilling or frying. Instead, look for healthy fats (like omega-3), which is found in fish, nuts, and seeds.
Speaking of nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds are known to ease certain prostate conditions, while Brazil nuts can ward off cancerous cells. Additional foods that can reduce your risk include shiitake mushrooms, green tea, and soy 4.
Other Dietary Changes
You can do wonders for your prostate – and virtually all other aspects of your health – by quitting smoking. Likewise, cutting down on drinking will trim your chances, as alcohol consumption raises the risk of cancer. Needless to say, smoking and drinking is even more hazardous for your health when done in tandem 5.
Obesity has been cited as a cause for more aggressive cancer cases, so keeping a healthy weight should be prioritized. Men who have a workout routine tend to have a lower chance of getting prostate cancer than people with sedentary lifestyles.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your day and commit to this routine several times per week 6. Exercise combats inflammation and boosts your immune system, which are two good ways of avoiding cancer.
Research studies on prostate cancer survivors have shown that vigorous exercise reduces the risk of recurrence much more than the same amount of exercise at an easy pace 7. Running, bicycling or swimming at a steady rate are excellent examples of vigorous exercise. Consult with your doctor to determine the best way to integrate exercise into your life.
While we’re on the subject of exercise, an increased rate of sexual activity can also reduce your chances. Certain studies indicate that ejaculation might clear out the toxins which cause inflammation – and even if that hypothesis ends up being untrue, it still counts as a workout!
Book An Appointment
If you’re at a higher risk, or concerned about getting prostate cancer, you can speak with your doctor about drug options. Clinical studies have looked at whether drugs used to treat enlarged prostates could be used to prevent prostate cancer, and the results suggest a reduced risk of about 25 percent 8.
At the very least, a conversation with your doctor might result in early or more regular prostate screenings. Research is the best defense against prostate cancer, and you can find many resources online. From information about symptoms and treatments, to healthy recipes and exercise tips, there’s a whole community of people looking to help others reduce their risk.