Prostate cancer prevention: Ways to reduce your risk

There’s no sure way to prevent prostate cancer. Study results often conflict with each other and most studies aren’t designed to definitively prove whether something prevents prostate cancer. As a result, no clear or proven ways to prevent prostate cancer have emerged. No one knows how to prevent prostate cancer, but a healthy lifestyle may be important.

In general, doctors recommend that men with an average risk of prostate cancer make choices that benefit their overall health if they’re interested in prostate cancer prevention. The latest research suggests that being overweight or obese probably increases your risk of aggressive or advanced prostate cancer. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help you stay a healthy weight, so these may be important for lowering your risk.

A healthy lifestyle can also improve your general wellbeing and help to prevent other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and some other cancers.

1.     Choose a healthy diet

There is some evidence that choosing a healthy diet that’s low in fat and full of fruits and vegetables may contribute to a lower risk of prostate cancer, though this hasn’t been proved concretely – What is a healthy diet?

A balanced diet should contain all of the food groups shown in the diagram below. This will ensure your body has all the energy and nutrients it needs, and only a small amount of fatty and sugary foods which can cause weight gain.

The picture shows the five main food groups and the proportions you should try to eat every day.

But experts at the World Cancer Research Fund recently looked at the results of lots of different studies, and are now less certain about the links between these foods and prostate cancer risk. They now say there isn’t enough evidence to say whether or not any individual foods reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, you may be able to lower your risk by choosing a healthy diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables and a wide range of other healthy foods.

If you want to reduce your risk of prostate cancer, consider trying to:

  • Choose a low-fat diet.Foods that contain fats include meats, nuts, oils and dairy products, such as milk and cheese. To reduce the amount of fat you eat each day, limit fatty foods or choose low-fat varieties. For instance, reduce the amount of fat you add to foods when cooking, select leaner cuts of meat, and choose low-fat or reduced-fat dairy products.
  • Eat more fat from plants than from animals.In studies that looked at fat consumption and prostate cancer risk, fats from animals were most likely to be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Animal products that contain fats include meat, lard and butter. You might consider using plant-based fats instead of animal fats. For instance, cook with olive oil rather than butter. Sprinkle nuts or seeds on your salad rather than cheese.
  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day.Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that are thought to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, though research hasn’t proved that any particular nutrient is guaranteed to reduce your risk.
  • Eat fish.Fatty fish — such as salmon, tuna and herring — contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fatty acid that has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. If you don’t currently eat fish, you might consider adding it to your diet. Another way to add omega-3s to your diet is by eating flaxseed.
  • Reduce the amount of dairy products you eat each day.In studies, men who ate the most dairy products — such as milk, cheese and yogurt — each day had the highest risk of prostate cancer. But study results have been mixed, and the risk associated with dairy products is thought to be small.

1.     Maintain a healthy weight

Men who are obese — a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher — may have an increased risk of prostate cancer. If you are overweight or obese, work on losing weight. You can do this by reducing the number of calories you eat each day and increasing the amount of exercise you do. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week and choosing a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

2.     Exercise most days of the week

Studies of exercise and prostate cancer risk have mostly shown that men who exercise may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Exercise has many other health benefits and may reduce your risk of heart disease and other cancers. Exercise can help you maintain your weight, or it can help you lose weight.

3.     Talk to your doctor about your risk

Some men have an increased risk of prostate cancer. For those with a very high risk of prostate cancer, there may be other options for risk reduction, such as medications. If you think you have a high risk of prostate cancer, discuss it with your doctor.

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