Preventing Prostate Cancer
Usually after a presentation, a few men will come up and ask if there is a way to prevent prostate cancer. My answer is always, “YES and NO.”
I then continue by saying while there are no drugs or magic pills to prevent prostate cancer, several things appear to play a role such as family history, age, race, diet, and geography.
The impact of geography
Without fail the next question almost always is, “How does geography impact prostate cancer?” Most are surprised to learn that researchers have observed the incidence of prostate cancer is much lower in Asian countries than in those nations that focus on a Western style of diet.1,2
The speculation centers on the fact that a Western diet is heavily influenced by the consumption of red meats, sugar and additives. In contrast, the Eastern diet consists more of fish and vegetables.
How exercise may help
If one cannot change their geography, they may consider consuming healthier calories, getting some exercise, or spending more time outdoors. Some studies have found that exercise may help lower the risk of prostate cancer.6
Exercise does not mean you are trying out for the Olympics. A decent amount of walking or bike riding can be an excellent way to start. At some point you could consider adding hand or ankle weights and be well on your way to building muscle and body strength.
As for diet, some studies have suggested fish and its omega-3 fats may protect against prostate cancer, though other studies have suggested otherwise.3 Some research has suggested trying to consume tomatoes cooked with olive oil could be beneficial.4
If nothing else, I think it's good to follow a mother’s advice and eat vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower on a weekly basis.
There's been a long history about green tea and its potential benefits. There is also some body of evidence that suggests coffee consumption may offer some prostate cancer protection and help prevent recurrence following treatment.
The advice men do not like to hear is to cut back on alcohol consumption and to stop smoking. A recent conversation with the heart surgeon noted that those two suggestions are the most difficult for many men to follow. Yet when followed, they can help produce positive health outcomes (though there is some debate among researchers about the role of alcohol).
Finally, ongoing stress and the inflammation it causes can lead to many diseases and potentially contribute to prostate cancer.5 I think it's good to find ways to enjoy life rather than being stressed out in the workplace or at home.
If you think eliminating stress is impossible, remember you can start a new path in life any time on any day. All I think it takes is to make a decision to stop doing what you've been doing in the past and to adopt some new habits that are healthier.
How familiar are you with inherited gene mutations and cancer?