Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in Canada and the USA. Men over the age of 65 are most often diagnosed, but men as young as 40 may be at risk. The risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age. While there is nothing you can do about aging, there are other changes you can make that decrease your odds of contracting the disease. Here are 6 steps you can take towards preventing prostate cancer:
- Eat well. This simple rule holds true to prevent most forms of cancer. Start to eat healthier including 8-10 fruits and vegetables a day. Eliminate or restrict red meat and processed meat and replace it with healthier proteins including soy, fish, chicken, beans, etc. Avoid foods with saturated fat. Reduce salt/sodium intake as well as processed sugars.
- Supplement your diet. Increase your intake of vitamins A and E as well as lycopene and selenium. Take a quality multi vitamin each day.
- Avoid alcohol. This applies to wine and beer as well. Research shows that the less you drink, the more you decrease your risk for cancer. Men should limit themselves to no more than 2 drinks a day. (This does not mean you can add days you don’t drink to days you do!)
- Stay active. Even if you don’t have time to join a gym, add exercise in your daily routine by taking the stairs, walking a few extra blocks, playing with the kids, etc.
- Keep a healthy body weight. If you are obese, you are at increased risk. Begin a healthy weight reduction plan.
- Know your family’s cancer history. If there is prostate cancer in your immediate family (father, brother, son, etc.) then you may be at increased risk. If more than one close male relative had prostate cancer, then you are at a much higher risk.
It is important to get regular screenings for early detection of prostate cancer. The good news is that early detection means catching any prostate cancer at an earlier stage, where there is a much greater likelihood of cure.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have several treatment options. Some cancers grow very slowly and watchful waiting is good enough until doctors see higher levels of PSA in testing or other indications that the cancer is becoming more aggressive. Some cancers can be very aggressive and treatment should start as soon as possible. It is important to research all your prostate cancer treatment options and discuss with your doctor which ones are best for your particular situation. There are traditional treatments like surgery and radiation, as well as some newer alternative treatments. One of the increasingly popular alternative treatments is HIFU – or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. This non-surgical and non invasive treatment options is safe and effective, with less down time and side effects. Your age, health, stage of cancer and other factors will play a role in which treatment option is right for you.
Although there are no guarantees for prostate cancer prevention, following the above steps can help you reduce your risk of getting the disease. A healthier lifestyle will also help you prevent other types of cancer and disease, and keep you feeling younger as your body ages.