Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in people with a prostate. According to the
Prostate cancer can affect anyone with a prostate. People with a prostate may identify as any gender and can include men, women, and non-binary people.
While there’s no absolute way to prevent prostate cancer, there are some things you can do that may lower your risk. Maintaining a moderate body weight, getting regular exercise, and paying attention to what you eat and drink all play key roles.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you can do to lower your risk of prostate cancer. Keep reading to discover more.
In this article, we talk about lowering the risk of prostate cancer in people who are assigned male at birth. It’s important to note that not everyone assigned male at birth identifies with the label “man.” While we aim to create content that includes and reflects the diversity of our readers, specificity is key when reporting on research participants and clinical findings. Unfortunately, the studies and surveys referenced in this article did not include data on, or include, participants who were transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or genderless.
Tomatoes, watermelon, and other red foods contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. A 2020 review of studies on this topic notes that current research supports that lycopene can effectively reduce the progression and growth of prostate cancer cells.
This point is emphasized by a 2021 meta-analysis of 10 studies on tomatoes and prostate cancer. After the analysis was complete, researchers found no significant association between eating tomatoes and prostate cancer risk. They also noted that additional, larger studies are necessary.
If you’d like to add more tomatoes to your diet, you may be wondering the best way to consume them. A 2018 study conducted in a laboratory suggests that cooking tomatoes, specifically frying them, may make it easier for your body to absorb lycopene.
Additionally, the redder the tomato, the better because lycopene accumulates during ripening. That means that pale, store-bought tomatoes that are picked too early have less lycopene than vine-ripened tomatoes.
Eating fresh fruit is an important part of a balanced diet. It’s also possible that it may lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Some examples of citrus fruits to consider trying out are:
It’s important to note that grapefruit can interact with some types of medication. If you take prescription medications and are unsure whether you can have grapefruit, be sure to talk with your doctor first.
A nutrient called isoflavones has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in at least one small
- tofu (made from soybeans) and other soy products
- alfalfa sprouts
Researchers have also long studied the link between green tea and prostate cancer risk, with mixed results. A
Many of us enjoy a nice cup of joe in the morning. But did you know that indulging a serious coffee habit is linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer?
Meanwhile, a second 2014 meta-analysis saw that the risk of fatal prostate cancer dropped
These findings are supported by a more recent 2021 review of studies. After going over 16 cohort studies, researchers found that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower prostate cancer risk. There was a significant linear trend with each additional cup of coffee per day.
This describes a dose-response relationship between prostate cancer and coffee. That means the effect on prostate cancer goes up or down with the amount of coffee you drink. However, these effects may not extend to someone who only grabs an occasional cup.
Keep in mind that high doses of caffeine can cause side effects, such as upset stomach, rapid heart rate, and trouble sleeping. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends not exceeding
How coffee is prepared may also be a factor. A
The chemicals cafestol and kahweol have cancer-fighting abilities. The researchers believe these chemicals are trapped when coffee runs through a paper filter. Boiled coffee may allow these cancer-fighting chemicals to stay in your daily brew.
In addition to meat, animal fats are found in lard, butter, and cheese. Some other sources of saturated fat not already mentioned include cakes or pastries, candies, and many types of prepackaged or fast foods.
Whenever possible, replace saturated and animal-based fats with plant-based fats. Try substituting:
- olive oil instead of butter
- fruit instead of candy
- fresh vegetables instead of prepackaged foods
- nuts or seeds instead of cheese
Also, overcooking meat produces carcinogens, so be careful not to overcook your meat.
According to the
It’s not too late to quit. When compared with current smokers, both of the studies above noted that people who had
For some types of foods and supplements, the data relating to prostate cancer risk is very mixed. Based on this information, it’s best to check with your doctor to discuss what is the best choice for you when it comes to these items.
Fish and omega-3
Some types of fatty acid, known as omega-3, may help reduce your risk of developing cancer. Omega-3 is found in dietary supplements as well as certain fish, including:
There was a
Further, in 2019, researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute presented two new studies about omega-3s at the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. Their research found that omega-3 intake was associated with protection from heart disease-related death and also didn’t appear to be linked with prostate cancer risk.
Folate is found in many foods, including:
- green vegetables
- whole grains
- fortified breakfast cereals
It can also be taken as a dietary supplement called folic acid.
Calcium has a variety of important benefits for your health. Some studies, according to the
Having overweight or obesity is linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer. However, generally speaking, the connection between prostate cancer risk and weight appears to be complex.
It’s also important to note that having overweight or obesity can have a negative effect if you’ve already been diagnosed with prostate cancer. For example, there’s an increased risk of prostate cancer progression and recurrence in these individuals.
Regular exercise can help you manage your weight. Benefits of exercise include increased muscle mass, better metabolism, and improved cardiovascular health. Try activities like:
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Change up your routine and invite your friends to participate. You’re more likely to work out if it’s fun.
Ask your doctor about your risk of developing prostate cancer. Some points to discuss include:
- what medical screening tests you should have as you age
- your personal or family history of cancer
- dietary or other health-related recommendations
Tell your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms that may be warning signs of prostate cancer, such as:
- urinary problems, like:
- noticing blood in your urine or semen
- having discomfort or pain anywhere in your pelvis, hips, or back that doesn’t go away
- experiencing trouble getting or maintaining an erection
Below, we’ll try to answer some of the additional questions that you may have about prostate cancer.
How common is prostate cancer?
According to the
The ACS estimates that about
What are the other risk factors for prostate cancer?
In addition to some of the factors we’ve discussed above, there are several other known risk factors for prostate cancer. These include:
- Age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you get older. According to the ACS, around
6 in 10 diagnosesof prostate cancer happen in men who are older than 65.
- Family history. If a close biological relative, such as a father or brother, has had prostate cancer, you may be at an increased risk of developing it.
- Race. Although the reasons why are unclear, prostate cancer appears to be
more commonin African American men. More research is needed to determine why.
- Geographic location. It’s unknown exactly why, but prostate cancer is more common in regions of the world like North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Australia.
- Genetic changes. Some inherited genetic changes, such as those in genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2, may boost your risk of prostate cancer. Additionally, men with an inherited condition called Lynch syndrome are also at a higher risk.
What’s the outlook for prostate cancer?
When prostate cancer is found early, the outlook is quite good. According to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, the overall 5-year survival rate of prostate cancer between 2011 and 2017 was
SEER breaks down these statistics further based on the extent of the cancer at diagnosis:
- Localized. When cancer remains in the prostate, 5-year survival is nearly 100 percent.
- Regional. If cancer is in the prostate and nearby lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is still nearly 100 percent.
- Distant. When the cancer has spread to other organs and tissues, the 5-year survival rate drops to 30.6 percent.
Most prostate cancers are diagnosed when they’re either localized or regional.
What types of treatments are used for prostate cancer?
If you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will help to develop a treatment plan that’s right for your individual situation. It’s possible that a combination of different treatment options may be used.
They may recommend something called expectant management if your cancer doesn’t cause symptoms. During this time, they may monitor your cancer using a variety of tests. Treatment will begin when you develop symptoms or when test results find the cancer is growing.
Other potential treatment options can include:
- Surgery. If you only have cancer in your prostate, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the tumor or your prostate.
- Radiation therapy. In radiation therapy, high energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells.
- Cryotherapy. During cryotherapy, a special probe is used to freeze and kill cells in your prostate, including cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy. This treatment focuses on blocking hormones that can encourage cancer growth.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs can kill cancer cells or slow down their growth.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy harnesses your immune system to help treat prostate cancer. A type of immunotherapy called sipuleucel-T (Provenge) may be used to treat some types of prostate cancer.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy blocks the activity of certain proteins on or in cancer cells. Drugs called PARP inhibitors may be used to treat some types of prostate cancer.
How do I keep my prostate healthy?
Doing the following things in your daily life can help you keep your prostate healthy:
- Exercise. Getting regular exercise is great for your health and for preventing a variety of medical conditions. Because of this, aim to exercise most days of the week. If you’re unsure where to start, ask your doctor about types of exercise that are appropriate for you.
- Eat a balanced diet. Try to eat a balanced diet that’s rich in foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources. Reduce your intake of red meats and foods that are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, or unhealthy fats.
- Manage weight. If you have overweight or obesity, it’s important to take steps to manage your weight. Your doctor can help recommend safe ways to lose weight.
It’s also important to see your doctor for regular health checkups. During this time, you can discuss prostate cancer and get information on when you should start receiving prostate cancer screenings. As always, never hesitate to see your doctor if you have concerning symptoms.
It’s not possible to completely prevent prostate cancer. However, there are some steps you can take to lower your risk.
For example, it’s possible that some types of food and drinks may lower prostate cancer risk. Examples include:
- red fruits or vegetables like tomatoes
- green tea
Reducing your intake of fats, particularly red meat, may also help reduce your risk.
Aside from diet, other lifestyle factors are also important. Try to take steps to quit smoking, manage your weight, and get regular exercise.
Never hesitate to see your doctor if you develop potential prostate cancer warning signs like urinary problems or pain in your pelvis, hips, or back. If these symptoms aren’t caused by prostate cancer, they may be due to another condition that needs to be treated.