Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, with 1 in 9 men being diagnosed throughout their lifetime.
While it is more common in older men over the age of 65, younger men can also fall victim to it. Many men live in fear of a prostate cancer diagnosis.
However, by taking certain steps and eliminating specific risk factors, there are several ways you can prevent prostate cancer. Follow these 7 steps to reduce your risk of prostate cancer and improve your overall health.
1) Cut out Red Meat
For those who relish a big juicy steak, some bad news. That weekly side of meat has been linked to prostate enlargement as well as an increased risk of prostate cancer. Several studies have been conducted on red meat’s effect on prostate cancer.
A 2009 study found that the consumption of red and processed meats led to an increase in the development of prostate cancer. In addition to this, red meat eaters had a 30% higher risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
Those who liked a well-done burger? They were twice as likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer than non-red meat eaters.
The best way to reduce prostate cancer chances is to avoid red meat almost entirely. Replace red and processed meats with other forms of protein like fish, chicken, and turkey. You can also get protein from a plant-based diet from sources like beans and nuts.
2) Say No to Dairy
In many households, dairy is a staple. We consume it on a daily, in the form of cheese, milk, chocolate, ice cream, and butter. Historically milk has been heralded for its health benefits, especially when it comes to bone health. Yet, despite these claims, research suggests that dairy may increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
As men age, their levels of testosterone decline while their levels increase, resulting in a hormonal imbalance which results in middle-age spread, loss of assertiveness, and a drooping sex drive.
Cow’s milk is full of female hormones, and as a result, dairy products can increase estrogen levels. This ultimately upsets your hormonal balance and increasing your production of DHT.
DHT is an active type of testosterone, and increased production of it can cause irritation to your prostate, resulting in an enlarged prostate.
However, dairy lovers fear not! There are a number of alternatives to dairy in this day and age, with good options including goat’s milk, almond milk, and coconut milk.
3) Eat your five a day
Try as we might, many of us struggle to hit this goal. Yet consuming your five a day could lower your prostate cancer risk. Certain fruits, such as tomatoes have been shown to lower prostate cancer risk.
This may be as tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to prevent certain prostate diseases. Epidemiological studies have also suggested that the strongest benefit has been observed for cooked tomatoes, which contain higher levels of bioavailable lycopene than fresh tomatoes.
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that men who consumed tomatoes as part of their daily diet had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower, are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamin C, E, and K; folate; and minerals.
They have also been shown to benefit prostate health and contain chemical components, such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which may target and eliminate damaged prostate cells without compromising healthy prostate cells. Several studies have indicated a link between consuming cruciferous vegetables and a lower risk for prostate cancer.
High levels of stress and anxiety impair the body’s immune system and prevent it from fighting off disease and illness. A weak immune system leaves you vulnerable and could affect your prostate health.
A research team at Ohio State University found a link between stress and the spread of cancer cells in many types of cancer. This includes prostate cancer. Their research shows that stress triggers a “master switch” gene in the body known as ATF3, which is expressed in all types of cells as a response to stressful conditions.
This gene usually causes normal and benign cells to self-destruct if they have been irrevocably damaged. But the research suggests that prostate cancer cells coax the immune system to release ATF3 in order for them to travel around the body and infect other areas.
With stressful conditions being the most likely trigger for the release of this gene, the research shows that stress causes cancer to worsen and spread.
If you find yourself struggling, try setting aside some time to de-stress. Speak to a friend or family member, join a support group, and try stress-relieving activities such as meditation.
5) Up your Omega 3
Research has been conflicting in this regard, with some research suggesting that consuming sources of omega 3 such as fish oil could increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. However, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has indicated that a higher intake of fish has in fact been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Furthermore, it went on to suggest that the more Omega 3 that individuals take, the better the survival rate for men who already had prostate cancer.
Research also showed that increased levels of fish intake reduced the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. So, there is considerable evidence actually favoring an increase in fish intake for prostate cancer risk reduction.
Dwelling on this further, another study showed that prostate cancer rates in Japanese people (who typically eat a lot more fish than Americans) are markedly lower than rates in the United States. This reinforces the idea that Omega 3 can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
6) Quit smoking
Quitting smoking will benefit your health in a number of ways and could even reduce your prostate cancer risk. Growing research has suggested an association between smoking and prostate cancer risk.
A meta-analysis study pooled data from 24 cohort studies enrolling 21 579 prostate cancer case participants. The results showed an association of smoking with prostate cancer incidence and mortality and concluded that the heaviest smokers had a 24% to 30% greater risk of death from prostate cancer than did non-smokers.
Smoking has also been associated with health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction.
If you are looking at your health, quitting smoking should be high on your agenda. Of course, this is easier said than done. A free telephone quitline — 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) — provides support and counseling. Trying to absolve addiction is very difficult, but by controlling the craving to smoke, you can significantly improve your health.
Exercise plays a key role in maintaining good health. In fact, it is estimated that 20% of all cancers are related to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
A new meta-analysis of 43 studies involving 88,294 cases found that overall, physical activity (both occupational and recreational combined) is associated with a 10 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer, with a few variations depending on the activity and age.
Prostate Cancer in Men
Early detection is key, and screening can help to detect cancer early. For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, treatment is available, although the treatment options will vary depending on the stage.
In the case of slow-growing localized prostate cancer, active surveillance may be an option. A benefit of monitoring low-risk cancer is that you might avoid having unnecessary surgery. In fact, one study of men undergoing active surveillance found that, 15 years later, less than 1% of men developed metastatic disease.
If the cancer is more advanced, your doctor may recommend surgery, such as radical prostatectomy or chemoprevention. However, most prostate surgeries are invasive and can cause significant damage and adverse side effects. Before having surgery, research the possible complications.
Prostate cancer is a serious disease that affects men’s health, so it is very important to begin taking steps now to reduce your risk.
By taking steps for the prevention of prostate cancer, you will not only lower your risk but will also improve your overall health, reducing your risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.