Millions of people have had their lives affected by prostate cancer. It is said that 1.1 million cases of prostate cancer were known worldwide in 2012, and in 2016 it is estimated that 21,600 new cases will be diagnosed in Canada alone.
Significant strides have been made in cancer research and several risk factors have been identified, including age, race and family history. But while researchers still work hard to prevent prostate cancer, a sure-fire way to prevent it does not exist.
REDUCE THE RISK THROUGH DIET
The latest research shows that a poor diet and lack of exercise can increase your risk of advanced or aggressive prostate cancer. Studies also show that men in East Asian countries are less likely to develop prostate cancer than men in Western countries. This is due in part to diet – men in Western countries tend to eat a diet that contains less fruits and vegetables, and more fat and processed foods.
A balanced diet is instrumental to your physical and mental health, so be careful with what you put on your plate. Studies have shown that foods high in the powerful antioxidant lycopene – like tomatoes and watermelon – may help lower the risk of prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), isoflavones have been linked to reduction in the risk of prostate cancer. Isoflavones are found in foods such as soybean tofu, lentils, chickpeas and peanuts. The ACS also found that men who drink green tea have a lower risk of prostate cancer than who don’t.
The consumption of red and processed meats, animal fats and dairy have all been linked to an increase in the risk of prostate cancer. Reduce the amount of red and processed meat in your diet by substituting chicken, turkey or fish instead. And replace animal-based fats with alternatives whenever possible: olive oil instead of butter, nuts or seeds instead of cheese, etc.
REDUCE THE RISK THROUGH EXERCISE
Fact: Active people are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and less likely to develop health problems, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s another way to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Aim for at least two to three hours of moderate exercise every week, whether it’s brisk walking, cycling, etc. – anything that makes your heartbeat faster. And these don’t need to be intense 60-minute sessions, just try to keep moving for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
As always, the key is finding an activity or sport you really enjoy. You might find it more fun to exercise with other people, or maybe you’d prefer to go it alone – just make sure you keep going.
OTHER WAYS TO REDUCE THE RISK
- Avoid smoking, for many reasons
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Seek medical treatment for things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stress and depression
- And try to relax and enjoy life!
SCREENING FOR Prostate CANCER
The Canadian recommendations for prostate cancer screening were updated by the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care in 2014. These guidelines have been endorsed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The new guidelines, which apply to all men not previously diagnosed with prostate cancer, are:
- Men under age 55: Do not screen with prostate-specific antigen test
- Men aged 55 to 69: Do not screen with prostate-specific antigen test
- Men aged 70 and over: Do not screen with prostate-specific antigen test
If you are concerned about prostate cancer, make an appointment to discuss your specific health concerns with your physician. Your doctor has the information necessary to determine which tests are appropriate and when.