9 Tips on How to Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Cancer
The most common cancer among men, prostate cancer develops in the small, walnut-shaped gland that produces semen. While the risk of developing prostate cancer can’t be completely eliminated, there are steps you can take to lower it.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
Below are nine practices that can help prevent prostate cancer:
- Eat at least 2 ½ cups fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables may help decrease your prostate cancer risk. Dark green vegetables, in particular, have compounds that break down substances called carcinogens that can cause cancer. In addition, eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day makes you less likely to consume unhealthy processed foods.
- Consume less animal fat. Studies suggest there is a link between the consumption of animal fats and an increased risk of prostate cancer. This includes fat in meat, butter, and cheese. Whenever possible, replace animal fats with plant-based fats (olive oil instead of butter, for example).
- Eat more fish. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish may help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. These acids are higher in certain fish including tuna, trout, salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
- Eat tomatoes and other red foods. Red foods get singled out as an important part of a cancer-prevention diet because they contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Studies suggest that cooking tomatoes make it easier for your body to absorb lycopene. When choosing tomatoes, the redder they are the better.
- Drink coffee. It is widely accepted that drinking coffee helps lower prostate cancer risk. Some studies suggest drinking four or five cups of coffee daily can significantly lower your chances of developing fatal or high-grade prostate cancer. However, high doses of caffeine can increase the risk of an irregular heartbeat and seizures. If you choose to drink coffee to lower your prostate cancer risk, talk with your doctor about how much coffee is right for you.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising 30 minutes a day most days of the week may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Plus, regular exercise has a positive impact on other aspects of your health such as cardiovascular fitness.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being obese can increase your risk of prostate cancer. If you’re overweight or obese, work to lose weight. Decrease the number of calories you consume each day and increase the amount of exercise you do.
- Discuss screenings with your doctor. The earlier prostate cancer is caught, the more successfully it can be treated. Most prostate cancers are first found during a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Talk to your doctor (starting at age 50) about the pros and cons of these screenings. Decide if screening is the right choice for you. If you’re African-American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, talk with your doctor (starting at age 45). If your risks are higher, men with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age, talk with your doctor even earlier (starting at age 40).
- Watch for symptoms. Many patients with prostate cancer often have no symptoms at all. Those who do have symptoms may experience a weak flow of urine; difficulty urinating; frequent urination (especially at night); pain or burning during urination; blood in your urine; or pain that does not go away in your lower back, pelvis or upper thighs. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
The more you do to protect yourself from prostate cancer, the better your odds of avoiding it. Get started today.