9 Tips to Prevent Prostate Cancer
Research has shown that diet can play a role in preventing prostate cancer. Here are some important dietary and lifestyle tips to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
The Facts of Prostate Cancer
The prostate, located under the bladder, is the organ that produces semen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States (CDC). The risk of developing prostate cancer rises with age. Six or seven of every 100 60-year-old men alive today will have prostate cancer by age 70.
There is no absolute prostate cancer prevention, but evidence suggests diet plays a key role.
Tomatoes and Other Red Foods
Tomatoes, watermelon, and other red foods owe their bright color to a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Studies show that men who consume tomato products, including sauces and ketchup, have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don't (CP).
Other findings suggest that cooking tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb lycopene. And the redder, the better. Lycopene accumulates during ripening. That means that pale, store-bought tomatoes that are picked too early have less lycopene than tomatoes that ripen on the vine.
The Power of Fruits and Veggies
Nutrients and vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. Green vegetables contain compounds that help your body break down cancer-causing substances (carcinogens). A nutrient-rich diet may also help slow the spread of cancer.
By eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you will be less likely to fill up on junk foods with little nutrition.
Feast on Fish
Fatty acid, known as omega-3 may help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. Omega-3 is found in fatty fish like sardines, tuna, trout, and salmon.
UCLA researchers found that when compared to a high-fat diet, a low-fat diet combined with fish oil supplements slows the growth of prostate cancer cells (UCLA, 2011). It is easier to treat cancer that has not yet spread outside the prostate.
Tofu and Tea
According to the Mayo Clinic, a nutrient called isoflavones has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer (Mayo, 2011). Isoflavones are found in:
- tofu (which is made from soybeans)
Some studies have shown that men who drink green tea or take green tea extract supplements have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don't (Mayo, 2011).
The Role of Fat
Studies indicate a link between animal fats and an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition to meat, animal fats are found in lard, butter, and cheese. Whenever possible, replace animal-based fats with plant-based fats. Also, overcooking meat produces carcinogens, so be careful not to over-cook your meat.
This, instead of that:
- olive oil instead of butter
- fruit instead of candy
- fresh vegetables instead of pre-packaged junk foods like potato chips
- nuts or seeds instead of cheese on your salad
A study out of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of California, San Francisco, shows that prostate cancer patients who smoke are more likely to have a recurrence or die. Smokers are also more likely to have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer (HSPH, 2011).
It's not too late to quit. When compared with current smokers, prostate cancer patients who quit smoking for more than 10 years had the same mortality risk as those who never smoked.
Some studies suggest that low folate in your blood means higher risk for cancer. Until clinical trials are complete, there is not enough evidence to recommend folate supplements as cancer prevention (NIH).
Some studies have linked dairy products with higher risk of prostate cancer, but this risk is considered small.
One study showed that men who consume several drinks daily over many years were at higher risk of prostate cancer. Further studies are needed.
The Importance of Exercise
Too much fat, especially in the middle of your body, is linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.
Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Benefits of exercise include increased muscle mass and better metabolism. Try:
Exercise doesn't have to be boring. Vary your routine and invite your friends to participate. You're more likely to stick to exercise if it's fun.
Talk To Your Doctor
Ask your doctor about your risk for developing prostate cancer. Points to discuss include:
- what medical tests you should have as you age
- family history of cancer
- dietary recommendations
Tell your doctor if you are just beginning a new exercise program, or if you the following symptoms:
- discomfort anywhere in your pelvic area
- difficulty urinating
- blood in your urine or semen