Men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other type of cancer with the exception of skin cancer. Prostate cancer affects only men, and involves the walnut-sized prostate gland that’s part of the male reproductive system.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), one out of every seven men will develop prostate cancer. The ACS estimates that this year, in the United States, more than 161,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer for the first time. Nearly 27,000 men are estimated to die from this disease in 2017.
Knowledge is power: Now that you know how common this prostate cancer is, you can — and should — take steps to reduce your risks of developing this disease. Unfortunately, there are no telltale early warning symptoms for prostate cancer. That’s why prevention is so important.
3 Uncontrollable Factors That May Increase Your Risk
As with many types of cancer, some prostate cancer risk factors are beyond your control. These include the following:
Men become more susceptible to developing prostate cancer after the age of 50. More than half of new cases are detected in men older than 65.
African Americans and Caribbean men with African ancestry are at highest risk for developing prostate cancer.
Men whose father or brother developed prostate cancer are more than twice as likely to develop the disease.
Embrace These 3 Healthy Habits to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer
Fortunately, lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for developing myriad cancers, including prostate cancer. Additionally, when you embrace the changes below, you’ll probably notice many pleasant side effects, including increased energy and overall sense of well-being.
1. Watch Your Diet
Research indicates that limiting your consumption of fatty foods (meats, oils and dairy products) may reduce your risk of developing prostate (and other) cancers. To help ward off prostate cancer, researchers recommend the following:
- Consuming more plant-based (olive oil, nuts) rather than animal-based fats (lard, meat and butter).
- Consuming more fish. Salmon, tuna and herring are examples of fish high in omega-3 acids, which have been linked to a reduced prostate cancer risk.
- Consuming more fruits and vegetables. Packed with nutrients, fruits and vegetables satisfy your appetite so you’ll have less room to eat unhealthy foods.
- Limiting dairy intake. Milk, cheese and yogurt are high in fat. Some studies have linked diets high in dairy with increased prostate cancer risk.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity has been linked to increased risk for many cancers, including prostate cancer. A body mass index of 30 or more is considered obese. Limit your caloric intake and increase your activity level to lose weight.
3. Get Plenty of Exercise
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. Any activity that boosts your heart rate — brisk walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, playing tennis — counts!
Your Doctor Is Your Key Advocate for Helping You Reduce Cancer Risk
If you’re not sure if you’re overweight, how to safely lose weight, or how to begin an exercise regimen, your doctor can help. More importantly, your doctor can screen you for signs of prostate cancer through a physical exam and perhaps a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test.
Around age 40, discuss the pros and cons of PSA screening with your doctor. Recommendations vary, but typically it’s recommended that men undergo this screening between the ages of 40 and 50, depending on their individual risk factors.