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Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. This year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts 249,000 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.
While prostate cancer risk factors like age, genes and family history cannot be controlled, there are things you can do to lower your risk, like eating a balanced diet, maintaining a stable weight and communicating with your health care team. Here is how you can maintain pristine prostate health—starting right now.
1. Eat a healthy diet
It’s not a secret that fruits and vegetables are full of the antioxidants and nutrients your body needs to stay in tip-top shape; however, there is some evidence that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables helps improve prostate health.
“Eating poorly can lead to long-term ailments. But in terms of fortifying the body against cancers, and prostate cancer in particular, eating a low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and limiting dairy may reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer,” said Victor Ukwu, M.D., Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Somerdale. “It is important to specifically limit red meats (choose grass-fed meat and no more than twice weekly), dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and avoid environmental exposures (namely phthalates).”
2. Grab your walking shoes
Some studies show that men who maintain an active lifestyle have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Of course, exercising is good for many reasons. But if you’re concerned about your prostate cancer risks, talk to your health care provider about an exercise plan that works for you.
“Research shows that there may be a connection between people who are overweight or obese and an increased risk of prostate cancer. When we carry extra weight, our body is forced to compensate, which often looks like overactive hormones and chronic inflammation. By maintaining a stable weight and getting enough regular exercise, you could reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer,” said Dr. Ukwu.
3. Don’t delay talking to your health care team
Prostate cancer often grows slowly. When it is found early and has not spread to other parts of the body, the ACS reports that the 5-year relative survival rate is nearly 100 percent. If you are concerned about your prostate health, the best step you can take is talking with your health care provider.
“Prostate screenings include the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which is used to measure the PSA protein levels in the bloodstream, and a digital rectal exam (DRE),” said Dr. Ukwu. “If we find any abnormalities, it may warrant a second round of screening or a biopsy.”
The best routine screening is the one you and your health care provider make together after you’ve discussed all your options. You should start talking to your health care team about getting screened for prostate cancer if you are:
● At least 40 years old and have one or more first-degree relatives who have had prostate cancer
● 55 years old and at average risk of developing prostate cancer