Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men. This means we should be doing what we can to prevent the risk of getting prostate cancer, as well as knowing how to get checked and keep one step ahead. As with any cancer, catching prostate cancer before it spreads is essential to improving treatment options and outcomes.
You may not be able to prevent prostate cancer absolutely, but there are things you can do to significantly lower your risk. Below we look at eight tips to prevent prostate cancer.
Eat Your Fruit and Veg
Eating five a day can do more than just help your waistline. The more fruit and veg you consume, the healthier your body and immune system are. Fruit and veg also contain many essential nutrients and vitamins, all of which can lower your risk of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Green veg is one of the best to incorporate into your diet, as they contain special compounds that can stop carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) from changing your cells. Lean white meat is a great addition to a plate of green veg but be sure not to overcook it, as this can actually produce carcinogens.
Even for those who are in the early stages of prostate cancer, eating a diet rich in fruit and veg can slow the spread of cancer. The more we consume healthy foods, the less likely we are to put processed foods into our bodies, which can also decrease our risk of cancer.
Drink More Coffee
No matter where you look on the internet, there are articles telling you the health benefits of coffee and others telling you that it is detrimental to your health. Research has actually found that drinking coffee could decrease your risk of getting high-grade (fatal) prostate cancer.
It has been found that drinking 4-5 cups a day could lower your chances the most. If you love coffee, this is great news. For every three cups, you can reduce the risk of high-grade prostate cancer by around 11%. Using filter paper is a no-go though as boiled coffee seems to keep more of the natural cancer-fighting chemicals.
Get Checked Out
Speaking to your doctor about your family history can determine your risk of prostate cancer. This can help your doctor make a plan for prevention, including the age prostate exams should start. It is not common for men under 40 years old to get prostate cancer, which is why prostate exams are introduced at the age of 50. If you have a higher risk, you may be checked at an earlier age. You should also be aware of the main symptoms of prostate cancer, in order to catch it early.
As well as getting a prostate exam, you can get a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, which can be used as part of prostate cancer screening. For those with a family history or risk factors, a PSA test can provide you and your doctor with a more complete picture of your prostate health. Ezra offers PSA tests for those who want to get checked out but there are things you should do beforehand to make sure the PSA test is accurate. Fortunately, this guide by Ezra has all the information you need about what can skew a PSA test, so you can book yours at the right time.
Eat Red Foods
This one might sound strange but eating foods that are red can actually lower your risk of prostate cancer. So, how can red foods help? Well, they actually contain an antioxidant known as lycopene, which is what gives red foods their bright color. This is good news if you enjoy foods like watermelon and tomatoes. Research is still ongoing, but it has been found that this powerful antioxidant can lower the levels of PSA, which lowers your chance of developing prostate cancer.
Men who are obese or overweight are more likely to develop aggressive types of prostate cancer. Even an extra few pounds could be increasing your chances of getting the disease. Exercise and a balanced diet are the best way to maintain a healthy body and healthy weight. If you struggle with your weight, your doctor can help you with an exercise and diet plan.
Walking is a great form of exercise and a good start if you haven’t really exercised before. You could also try swimming, cycling, yoga, or tai chi, depending on what you like. Exercise can improve your body strength and muscle mass, which can also help with cancer risk. Finding an exercise that you enjoy can also lower your stress levels, which also lowers the risk of cancer (find more about this below).
Smoking can increase your risk of cancer, including prostate cancer. People who smoke daily have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer again or dying from the disease. Even if you have smoked most of your life, it is never too late to ditch the habit and reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Once you stop, your risk will lessen over time, and you can begin to reverse some of the damage caused.
Reduce Stress Levels
Stress has a big part to play in the physiology of our body. The more stressed we are, the easier it is for our body to shut down and allow cancerous cells to form or grow. We live in a stressful era, where our jobs and lives can be very busy. This can put many people in a constant state of stress, leading to anxiety, depression, and mental illness. When our body and mind are stressed, it produces hormones. These hormones can make it easier for cancerous tumors to grow and for prostate cancer to spread.
Stress also affects the immune system, making it harder for the body to get rid of infection and disease. If you find yourself in a stressful situation at home or work and you are worried about your health, you should find ways to relax and alleviate this stress. Meditation is a great way to root ourselves to the present and get rid of stress and tension held in the body. Yoga can also help calm the mind of those who struggle with sitting still. If stress is taking over your life, speak to your doctor who can refer you to a counseling group or therapist, and they can help you get to the root of it.
Choose Healthy Fats
Despite what many people think, fat is needed for our body to work as it should. Unfortunately, many Americans choose the wrong fats to put in their body, which increases the risk of obesity and prostate cancers. Animal fat especially has been linked to a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. This can be found in many products, including cheese, butter, and lard. To decrease your risk, try consuming more plant-based fat. This includes olive oil rather than butter and seeds or nuts rather than cheese.
If you are worried about your risk of developing prostate cancer, improving your diet and exercise regime can help. You should also consider quitting smoking. Make sure to lower your stress levels and get checked out if you are concerned.