Is it even possible to prevent prostate cancer? The straight answer today is no, there is not a way of definitively preventing a man from getting prostate cancer, though there are lifestyle choices you can make that may help eliminate the possibility of hearing those dreadful words “You have cancer”.
What follows are some basic recommendations on eating and exercise that may help lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. These recommendations are also among the recommended strategies for avoiding other cancers and heart disease as well; since you can’t control your age, race or genetics, these are your next best active step.
The food you put in your body needs to be processed, digested and helps fuel your life. Putting quality foods on your menu just makes sense. Here are some recommendations:
Use a BMI calculator to help determine the number of calories you should be taking in each day.
Watch the Fat
Prostate cancer rates are higher in countries where people tend to eat a lot of fat. Avoid foods high in saturated fats like those found in red meat.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
There are numerous studies that link a diet that includes a large variety of fruits and vegetables with a lower risk of various cancers. Look for vegetables high in Vitamin B, such as spinach, some beans and asparagus. Try to add broccoli, kale and cabbage to your meals – these cruciferous foods have been linked to protecting against prostate cancer. Include tomato based sauces as they contain lycopene, an antioxidant that some studies have found can lower prostate cancer risk.
Eat Whole Grains
When available, eat brown rice instead of white rice and whole-wheat bread over white bread. In general avoid processed food whenever possible.
Eat Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Most fats should be avoided with one key exception: the Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, etc) may reduce the risk of certain cancers. There are also many Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil supplements that can be added to your diets if these fish are not readily available.
Eat Soy Protein
There are lower rates of prostate cancer in Asian men, which some studies have linked to their consumption of soy products and legumes.
Read the Label
Look at the label attached to the food you buy. Understand what you are putting in your body; if you don’t know what something is or why an ingredient has been added, don’t just blindly accept it. Research the ingredient and determine whether it’s acceptable.
Keeping your body at a healthy weight can provide many positives for you. Though researchers have not established a clear link between obesity and prostate cancer, obesity may affect hormone levels related to prostate cancer risk.
The advantage of regular exercise (30 minutes of aerobic activity every day at a minimum) is that your caloric intake can increase as well. Losing weight is much easier if you are physically active.
Learn Your PSA Value
The Prostate Cancer Awareness Project recommends that all men incorporate a simple PSA blood test into their annual physicals from age 35 on. The key is understanding and monitoring changes in the PSA value over time. The Prostate Cancer Awareness Project has tracking sheet you can use to help monitor your PSA velocity over time.
While there is no “silver bullet” that will eliminate the potential for a man to get prostate cancer, making healthy choices in eating and exercise can make a difference. Over 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year and over 30,000 men die from the disease. Fortunately if caught early the survival rate is very high and maintaining a healthy life style and understanding your PSA values over time can be an excellent early warning indicator.
There are a number of resources you can draw from to build a health plan for doing all you can to avoid prostate cancer. Here are a few:
- Mayo Clinic – Prostate Cancer Prevention
- National Cancer Institute – Prostate Cancer Prevention
- Prostate Cancer Foundation – Prevention
- Prostate Cancer Awareness Project – Early Detection
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as medical advice. You should speak to your doctor before making changes to your eating habits or exercise – each human body is different and at different stages and what may work well for one person may not for another. We highly recommend you speak to your personal physician to determine which of this advice will work best for you.