Prostate cancer is the most common internal cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men. There are actions that men can take to decrease their risk of developing prostate cancer. First, one must understand what causes it, what factors you can’t change and those factors you can change.
There are four major factors that influence a man’s risk for developing prostate cancer. The factors which you cannot change are:
1. Age: The older you get, the more chance you will develop prostate cancer. The average age when prostate cancer in the United States is diagnosed is 69. After that age the chance of developing prostate cancer becomes more common than any other cancer in men or women.
2. Race: All men are at risk, but the individual racial risk varies. African Americans have a 40% greater chance of developing prostate cancer and twice the risk of dying from it. Conversely, Asian men who live in Asia have the lowest risk; however when they migrate to the west, their risk increases.
3. Family history: A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer has twice the risk for developing it. Moreover, this risk is further increased if the cancer was diagnosed at a younger age (less than 55 years of age) or it affected three or more family members.
4. Where you live: The risk of developing prostate cancer for men who live the United States 17%. Asian men who live in rural China have only a 2% risk, but if they move to a western culture, their risk increases substantially. Men who live in the north United States (north of Philadelphia, Columbus, Ohio, and Provo, Utah) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States. It is thought that this effect may be mediated by inadequate sunlight during three months of the year which reduces vitamin D levels.
There are at least 10 actions that men can do to reduce or delay their risk of developing prostate cancer. As noted above, the Western culture lifestyle seems to place men at a higher risk. A major risk factor is thus the Western diet. We tend to eat too many foods that produce oxidative damage to DNA. Here are 10 actions you can do to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Lose weight if you’re overweight and eat fewer calories or exercise more so that you stay trim.
2. Minimize the amount of fat you ingest from red meat and dairy products. Eat less red meat and more poultry, fish or whey for your protein needs. For sure, avoid Trans fats.
3. Don’t overdo your calcium intake. Men should ingest only 500 mg to 1000 mg of calcium a day. Avoid taking more than 1,500 mg of calcium a day.
4. Eat more fish. There is a large amount of evidence that fish can help protect against prostate cancer. This may be because they have “good fat” particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Eat lots of vegetables. Particularly, increase your intake of tomatoes (raw or cooked with olive oil) and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower). Soy and green tea are also beneficial.
6. Stop smoking for many reasons. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
7. Get a check and treat problems such as stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. Treating these conditions may save your life and will improve your survivorship with prostate cancer.
8. Get a PSA and rectal exams done regularly, at least yearly if you are over age 50 or after 40 if you have other risk factors for prostate cancer as noted above.
9. Take supplements but avoid over-supplementation. Most multivitamin preparations are good and are not likely to be harmful. However, always eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils to give you adequate nutrition.
10. Relax and enjoy life. Reducing stress in the workplace and home will improve your survivorship and lead to a longer, happier life.
In reality, all these are anti-aging actions that change your lifestyle to help reduce your risk of not only prostate cancer, but also many other medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Embrace them every day and you will live longer with better health. You’ll enjoy a better quality of life too.