The Best Ways to Avoid Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Facts

Prostate Cancer Facts

Prostate Cancer is the second most common form of cancer in American men. The figures around prostate cancer are startling — according to the American Cancer Society, 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2014 and nearly 30,000 men will die from the disease. One in seven men will experience prostate cancer in their lifetime.

It mostly affects older men, with most cases occurring in men over 65. However, some men have been diagnosed as young as 40.

Because of these confronting statistics, many men are looking at how to minimize their prostate cancer risk. Here are the best 6 ways to do so.

Drink Green Tea

Eat a Healthy Diet

Diet plays an incredibly important part in maintaining your health and avoiding cancer.  At it’s simplest, your diet should emphasize fruit, vegetables and fish.  It should limit fats, red meat, dairy foods and processed foods.

Studies have shown that men who eat higher levels of fat have a greater risk of getting prostate cancer.  This is particularly true for the fats found in meat, some oils, nuts and dairy foods.

Fat that is found in plants is much healthier and does not contribute to prostate cancer risk.  The fat found in an avocado for example, does not increase your prostate cancer risk.  Choose olive oil instead of butter to reduce the prostate cancer risk from fat consumption.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will decrease your risk of getting prostate cancer.  These foods are nutrient dense and low in fat.  By eating more natural foods, you will be avoiding the chemicals found in many processed foods, further lowering cancer risk.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and certain vegetables can lower your prostate cancer risk.  Certain oily fish like tuna and salmon, are higher in Omega-3s.

 Drink Green Tea

 

Some research has shown that green tea has an anti-inflammatory function within the human body and can lower the risk of certain cancers.  Research has found that people who drink large quantities of caffeinated beverages may increase their prostate cancer risk.  So cut down on the coffee and black tea, and replace it with green tea.

Keep Your Weight Under Control

A major risk factor for prostate cancer is obesity.  Men who have a high body mass index are more likely to get prostate cancer.  By keeping your weight under control, you can also avoid other forms of cancer, including colorectal cancer.

Exercise More

There is strong evidence that regular exercise can lower cancer and cardiovascular disease risk.  That is also true for prostate cancer, with research showing regular exercise can reduce your risk.

Drink Less Alcohol

If you have more than 2 standard drinks per day, you “may” be increasing your prostate cancer risk.  Some research indicates increased risk, but the evidence is not entirely compelling.  However, we do know that alcohol intake can increase the risk of colorectal, breast, liver and esophageal cancer.

Have More Sex

Some research indicates that men who have more sex have a lower risk of prostate cancer.  Men who were not in monogamous relationships had a lower risk of aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

Circumcision May Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

Prostate Cancer Circumcision Link

Prostate Cancer Circumcision Link

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for men in the developed world with more than 240’000 cases diagnosed in the United States annually. Many men have the cancer without even knowing it, and die from unrelated causes before the cancer has had a chance to metastasize.

Because of the prevalence of this form of cancer, a great deal of funding is going towards finding the various risk factors and new forms of treatment.

One new research paper from Canadian scientists has uncovered a potential link between circumcision and prostate cancer risk. The link is suspected to be related to the lower rates of sexually transmitted disease amongst men who have been circumcised.

The research found that within a sample group of 3000 men, those circumcised as infants were 14 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, and men circumcised as adults 45 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer.

The research was published in the British urology journal BJU International. Researchers have known for many years that men who have been circumcised have a lower risk of prostate cancer, but are now digging deeper to understand why.

The research participants were between the ages of 40 and 75, with approximately 50% having been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The men were asked in-depth questions about their health, lifestyle, family history of cancer and work history.

Interestingly, the circumcision and prostate cancer link may be stronger in men of a certain racial group. Black men who were circumcised were 60% less likely to have prostate cancer compared to black men who had not been circumcised. However the small number of black men in the study may have skewed the results.

The link is of growing concern because the circumcision rate has been declining in the United States in recent years, dropping by about 20 percent in the last few decades. Researchers suggest this may be due to the procedure not always being covered by insurance or medicaid.

However while the findings warrant more investigation, the format for the study relies upon the honesty of the participants. When it comes to revealing the details of their sexual history and sexually transmitted diseases, some men aren’t always completely honest. Researchers don’t suggest parents should be more or less inclined to circumcise based upon this study.

Dogs Detecting Prostate Cancer

Dogs Detecting Prostate Cancer

Dogs Detecting Prostate Cancer

In an interesting new study, trained dogs have demonstrated they can detect the presence of prostate cancer in a person by smelling their urine with 98% accuracy!

The study is about to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Orlando.

The lead author of the paper, Dr. Gianluigi Taverna says: “This study gives us a standardized method of diagnosis that is reproducible, low cost and non-invasive” Dr. Taverna is chief of the prostatic diseases unit at the Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, Italy.

Using these specially trained dogs may reduce the number of invasive procedures that people have to undertake when determining if they have prostate cancer, like biopsies. The ease of the test also means that people at high risk of prostate cancer could very easily have annual high accuracy tests.

The study involved over 900 participants and divided them into a prostate cancer group of about 360 men and a control group who did not have prostate cancer, that consisted of 540 men. The control group were tested to ensure they didn’t have any other form of cancer.

Two young German Shepherds were trained for 5 months and once ready they simple smelled the urine and gave their reaction to presence of scents that indicate prostate cancer.

The dogs learned to spot prostate cancer specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the urine samples. None of the trainers or lab technicians knew which samples were from prostate cancer diagnosed persons, so it was entirely up to the animals and no human “hints” were possible.

The results were astonishingly good with one of the dogs detecting to 100% accuracy the patients who had prostate cancer and to 98% accuracy the people from the control group who did not have prostate cancer.

The second dog was slightly less accurate with 98% accuracy at detecting prostate cancer and 96% accuracy for identifying people without the cancer.

From that large study group of 900 people, the animals collectively had 16 false positives and four false negatives.

Researchers suggest that the data can be used in conjunction with the other variables that the doctor is using to diagnose including size of tumor, tumor stage and patient age. When combined with other technologies like MRI scans, PSA tests and biopsies it could add a valuable tool to the doctors arsenal.

Before the accuracy of the dogs can be validated, there needs to be more testing with different racial groups and men of different ages to determine if there is any other biological factor at play which might undermine accuracy.

Unfortunately the use of dogs might not always be viable in a clinical setting, so researchers are also attempting to determine the biomarkers that the animals are spotting in the urine. They may be able to construct a way to replicate the results in the laboratory with a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry device.

Dogs can detect these smells because they have about 40 times more olfactory cells in their noses. For a long time humans have known about dogs sometimes having the ability to detect illness in their human friends. Recent studies have even shown that dogs can also alert people to incoming epileptic and diabetic seizures, so they can warn of incoming problems.

There are other research projects aimed at seeing how effective dogs are at detecting different forms of cancer including lung cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer. Studies have also shown that dogs can spot ovarian cancer in blood.

Man’s best friend is once again demonstrating how helpful he can be by alerting us to health problems!

New Prostate Cancer Test Shows Great Results

Prostate Specifc Antigen

Prostate Specifc Antigen

New research has indicated that a less invasive prostate cancer testing procedure is showing good results and may be ready widespread use very soon. Previously doctors looked for elevated levels of prostate specific antingen (PSA) to determine if prostate cancer may be present, but the test was not always reliable. The new test looks for markers in the blood that indicate prostate cancer may be present and looks to be more accurate.

The new blood test looks for three markers in the blood in addition to PSA. The PSA test typically has a misdiagnosis rate of about 32% but the research indicates the new test may have a misdiagnosis rate as low as 9%. The blood markers in question are cytokines proteins, specifically IL-8, TNF-alpha and sTNFR1.

Prostate specific antigens are proteins in the blood that usually increase when men have prostate cancer. This kind of test has been in use since the 1980s but in recent years it’s lack of accuracy has been an issue for many doctors. Some research groups have shown that as many as 70% of men have elevated PSA levels but do not have prostate cancer.

Those men often have to endure a biopsy to confirm the presence of the cancer when it was not necessary. If the number of needless biopsies can be reduced by this new test, it is also a substantial saving for the health care system.

Dr Kailash Chadha presented the findings on the new test to the American Association for Cancer Research recently.

The PSA test also finds cancer that do not need to be treated because they are not life threatening and will not spread to other parts of the body.

The new three blood marker test is much better at determining if the cancer is localized prostate cancer (that will not spread) or high risk prostate cancer that is at risk of spreading to other parts of the body. If the doctor knows the precise nature of the cancer, then that will allow them to make a much better judgement call about further diagnosis and treatment options.

Dr Chadra says that the new test needs more research before it can be released into the medical world, but at this stage the findings are very encouraging. Another study researcher, Dr. Willie was quoted as saying: “What we really need is something that will reduce the number of men getting unnecessary biopsies, and also better distinguish those who should get treated compared to those who don’t need to be treated, Right now, with our current tools, we can’t adequately do that.”

This early stage research contained less than 50 men and most of them were male, so larger groups are required to determine the efficacy of the test.

The best tools for fighting Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Risk Reduction

Prostate Cancer Risk Reduction

Prostate Cancer is one form of cancer that is being increasingly diagnosed in older males, with diagnosis rates doubling between 1998-2008 in many western countries. One of the reasons for this is that men are living longer now, and the cancer often appears in older men. Decades ago many men would be more likely to die from another cause before prostate cancer became a life threatening illness. However now that people are living longer it is becoming a more prominent and dangerous disease.

Quite simply, the older you get, the more likely you are to get prostate cancer. Given that modern medicine means that most men are going to live to a much older age than 50 years ago, it is now more likely to be a life threatening problem for the average male. The rate of diagnosis of prostate cancer is expected to grow substantially by 2020 as more older males encounter this problem.

The good news is that simple dietary changes and lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and/or delay it’s onset. Early detection is also key to surviving prostate cancer, just like most other cancers – the earlier you detect the cancer, the greater your chance of survival.

One simple way to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, or delay it’s appearance is to take vitamin supplements. Everyone should take a multivitamin every day as a general rule, but some particular vitamins have been found to have a preventative or delaying effect on prostate cancer. Folate is one of the supplements which may have a preventative effect on prostate cancer, so if that form of cancer is of particular concern, you should talk to your doctor about starting on folate.

Experts are unsure about the role of diet on the appearance of prostate cancer, but we do know that a healthy balanced diet with a range of fruits, vegetables and whole grains definitely reduces the risk of other cancers. So there is no harm in watching your diet, you may be reducing prostate cancer risk, but you are definitely reducing bowel cancer risk. A healthy diet full of flavonoids and antioxidants will reduce cancer risk and help you live a long and enjoyable life.

Watching your diet also includes limiting refined sugar, so that means reducing or eliminating sugar dense sodas and foods from your diet. Various pieces of research into prostate cancer have come to different conclusions about the role of diet, but limiting sugar helps reduce your weight to a healthy level. Given that obesity is a risk factor not only for some cancers, but for heart disease, it is a good step for your health. Stevia is a good sugar replacement for when you really have a craving, but dark chocolate is also a great replacement for other junk foods. Many people have also reported using honey to cure that craving for something sweet.

You could also increase your daily dose of phytoestrogen, which studies have shown might be useful for reducing prostate cancer risk. Phytoestrogen is found in soy, so consuming soy milk will help increase your level. Be sure to choose an organic soy milk which has not been heavily processed. The study found:

These results are suggestive of a possible relationship between phytoestrogen intake and prostate cancer risk. Larger comprehensive studies are needed to further refine the role of phytoestrogen intake in prostate cancer risk.

Increasing your intake of lignan rich foods like flaxseed could also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Research has shown that lignans may be able to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and the low prostate cancer rates in China and Japanese men points to the role of diet here.

Vitamin D may be of use for men interested in maintaining good health and reducing the risk of cancer in general. Whilst there is no direct evidence that the vitamin can reduce risk of getting prostate cancer specifically, it can help prevent other cancers and maintain strong bones and muscles. At the very least it can help a patient fight a cancer by keeping their body in better condition.

So while prostate cancer is not one of the easiest cancers to prevent, steps can be taken if you expect to live a long life and want to reduce the prostate cancer risk or delay the cancer appearing. By maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy diet you can reduce cancer risk a great deal.

Cancer Patient Donates $30 Million

Cancer Research Funding

Cancer Research Funding

The Boston Globe has shared a story about a man who was treated for prostate cancer anumber of years ago and has just donated $30 million to cancer research!

Albert Marcotte is now working as a management consultant, but has spent his entire life working at creating solutions for problems. The article mentions that over his long career, Marcotte has built houses and designed computer simulators to help business people make decisions.

Marcotte donated the $30 million to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to help pay for new research initiatives. Representatives of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say that the donation is the second largest in it’s history by a single donor, only beaten out by a $50 million donation from an anonymous donor.

The $30 million dollar donation was to support cancer research in general and not any particular form of the disease, despite the fact that Mr Marcotte had battled prostate cancer himself. Dr. Edward Benz Jr., the Chief Executive of Dana-Farber said that most former patients of the hospital tend to target their donation towards the type of cancer that they had.

This donation will allow researchers to look at the fundamental underpinnings of the disease and look for root causes of various types of cancer. The money will be used to create the Marcotte Center for Cancer Research which will be across the street from Dana-Farber’s Yawkey Center for Cancer Care in Boston.

According to Benz, federal money for research has been dwindling in recent years, so donations from generous donors like Mr Marcotte are more important than ever.

Mr Marcotte said that his time visiting the hospital when he had prostate cancer gave him a good understanding of the organizational structure and team leadership there. He then knew his money was in safe hands after having met the leadership group and talented doctors. Marcotte calls the donation an investment in the future, saying “Research provides hope for the future”

Reduction of Prostate Cancer Risk

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Prostate Cancer Prevention


Recent research has indicated that lifestyle factors play a significant role in the reduction of risk for aggressive prostate cancer. In new research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, they looked at people adhering to the eight lifestyle recommendations from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and how it plays out with agressive forms of prostate
cancer.

The eight recommendations include:

  • Staying within acceptable ranges of body mass index
  • Staying physically fit
  • Eating foods with lower caloric density (so avoiding chocolates and fatty foods)
  • Eating fruits and non-starchy vegetables
  • Watching salt intake
  • Eating Legumes
  • Eating unrefined grains, so things like brown bread, brown rice
  • Moderating red meat consumption

The researchers looked at adherence to those eight recommendations and the risk of highly aggressive prostate cancer in subjects enrolled in the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project. The research was led by Lenore Arab PhD, JCCC member and professor in the departments of medicine and biological chemistry. The results of the study have been published online ahead of print in the medical journal “Nutrition and Cancer”.

That group included 2212 men aged between 40 and 70 with newly diagnosed prostate cancer. Whilst the eight recommendations are for general avoidance of cancer, researchers wanted to narrow it down to look at these aggressive prostate cancers in particular.

For individuals who adhere to less than four of the eight recommendations, the risk of aggressive prostate cancer increased by 38% compared to those who adhered to four or more of the recommendations. The results were similar between racial groups, so men of different races all benefit from adherence to the recommendations.

Researchers found that the most two important recommendations were eating less than 500 grams of red meat per week, and avoiding foods with high caloric density. Those two recommendations really stood out as being important to avoiding the more aggressive prostate cancers.

For each point of adherence from the 8 recommendations, researchers estimated about a 13% reduction in risk of the most aggressive cancers but the people most in danger of aggressive prostate cancers were those who adhered to four or less recommendations.

The lead research, Dr Arab said: “Most men are at risk of prostate cancer, but it is the level of aggressiveness of disease that is most clinically relevant. These findings suggest that even men with prostate cancer can take control of their disease and moderate its aggressiveness through diet and lifestyle choices.”

Researchers determined the level of aggressiveness of the prostate cancer by a number of metrics: TNM malignant tumor classification, Gleason grading system scores, and blood levels of prostate-specific antigen.

Partical adherence to WCRF recommendations was also considered, so point scores and odds ratios were estimated. The research does make the assumption that adherence to the eight guidelines was regular throughout most of the patients adult life.

Very clear evidence here that the eight recommendations may not just help prevent cancer in general, but reduce risk of the more aggressive variants of some cancers.

Scientists Discover Proteins That Stop Cancer

Proteins could lead to Cancer Cure

Proteins could lead to Cancer Cure


Some interesting research has just been published in the Cancer Discovery scientific journal identifying a protein that can reduce the spread of cancer.

A five-amino acid protein fragment has been identified as reducing the metastatic spread of breast, prostate and lung cancer in mice. The research was carried out by US and Norwegian researchers from the Boston Children’s Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of Bergen in Norway suggest that the protein could be used to potentially block the spread of various cancers.

Cancer usually kills not because of the primary source (the initial tumor) but because of it’s spreading throughout the body, the metastasis. If you can prevent metastasis of cancer, then you can dramatically reduce mortality rates. Most cancers usually spread throughout the body and impact on other organs, eventually causing organ failure and death.

One of the researchers, Dr Randolph Watnick, has in the past demonstrated that cancers capable of metastasis actually produce proteins that help them spread throughout the body. Tumors that cannot metastasize release prosaposin and this protein activates expression of a second protein called thrombospondin-1 in tissues throughout the body where metastatic tumor cells can spread. The protein Thrombospondin-1 makes these otherwise-permissive tissues resistant to metastasis.

The study used models of various cancers, marrow transplants and gene knockout experiments to confirm their findings.

Dr Watnick suggests: “Others have shown that tumors recruit monocytes to future metastatic sites, which help to set up a permissive environment for tumor cells to metastasize. Our results suggest that non-metastatic tumors do the same thing, but instead of creating a permissive environment, the monocytes create a refractory environment by producing thrombospondin-1.”

Some very interesting research that will hopefully lead to drugs that dramatically limit the spread of cancer throughout the body.

Vitamin D and Cancer

Vitamin D & Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D & Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D is actually a number of fat-soluble secosteroids including Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). It is an interesting vitamin because the human body can either digest it via food or it can be obtained via exposure to the sun as the body synthesizes it. In that sense it’s not a dietary vitamin in the strict sense as it can come from the human bodies exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D is essential for the development, growth and repair of human bones, aids in the absorption of calcium and helps the immune system function. Vitamin D also plays a role in improving muscle strength and reducing inflammation.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases including rickets (childhood osteomalacia), so in the developed world it is added to a number of food items like cow’s milk to avoid those illnesses. A lack of vitamin D can also play a role in the development of Osteoporosis. People with unusual diets and those who do not obtain enough sunlight are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Between the ages 1-50, 5 μg (=200 IU) of vitamin D is recommended. After 50 most specialists recommend between 10 μg (=400 IU) and 15 μg (=600 IU) of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Studies

Recent studies have suggested that high levels of vitamin D may actually reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and studies are looking at further possible cancer risk reduction for prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancers. This post will take a closer look at the accumulated evidence for vitamin D playing a role in cancer prevention.

Many scientific studies have been performed which look at vitamin D specifically. In early tests, scientists looked at the geographic correlation studies to see if people in more sunny areas of the planet (higher vitamin D intake) had lower risk of cancers. People living in the southern latitudes were found to have a lower incidence of certain cancers than people in the less sunny northern latitudes. From these early studies, scientists suggested that vitamin D played some role in cancer prevention.

In laboratory studies, vitamin D was used on cancer cells and found to have an impact on the growth of the cancer cells and in some cases even killed them. Laboratory studies using cultures are quite often vastly different from the how vitamins operate within the human body however.

Clinical human trials have determined that vitamin D high intake may reduce the risk of cancer. One trial involving 1250 older women who took a combination of calcium tablets and vitamin D tablets for 4 years saw a 60% lower incidence of cancer compared to the placebo taking group. However in that study, a vitamin D only group (without calcium) was not used. The study itself was designed to look at bone health so the cancer findings were supplementary.

Observational studies have been undertaken to look at vitamin D and it’s cancer prevention abilities specifically. The studies haven’t been conclusive so far, largely due to the difficulty of determining how much the patients diet impacts their chances of getting cancer. Quite often the data which is given by patients to researchers is also inaccurate, with their determination of their dietary intake being way off. At this stage many of the studies suggest their is possibly a link between higher vitamin D consumption and reduced cancer risk.

There is also a very close relationship between vitamin D and calcium in the body, so it is somewhat difficult to study just the effects of vitamin D when varying levels of calcium intake are involved in the mix. New randomized trials which look at vitamin D specifically are required.

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer

The data in this area is somewhat inconsistent, but findings indicate that there is some role for vitamin D in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention study which featured 120’000 men and women found that men who took 13 μg (525 IU) or more vitamin D per day in their diet had a lower risk of colorectal cancer. However, interestingly this reduced risk was not shown in women.

In a meta-study looking at 10 cohort studies, it was found that people who had very high vitamin D intakes had a slightly lower risk of colorectal cancer than those on the lowest intakes of vitamin D. However the risk was reduced by such a small amount it could have been a statistical anomaly.

In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a look at over 16’000 participants concluded that those with higher vitamin D blood levels (≥80 nmol/L) had a 72 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer death compared to those with a very low level of vitamin D in their blood.

Of the types of cancer, colorectal cancer prevention is the one most likely linked with high vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer

There have been conflicting results in epidemiological studies looking at the link between breast cancer risk reduction and vitamin D. Some studies find a link in risk reduction, but others find no such link. A meta-study involving six other studies saw no association between vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk reduction. That being said, the studies involved did not have very high vitamin D intakes required, and when the study only looked at the very high intakes (>10μg) compared to the very low (<1.25μg) there was a reduced risk in breast cancer found.In another large study which involved many thousands of women taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, there was no reduced risk of invasive breast cancer found.

Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer Risk

Geographic correlation studies (comparing people in sunny locations to less sunny), have found a link between vitamin D and reduced prostate cancer risk. However epidemiological studies have found no such link.

In a large study that looked at the incidence of prostate cancer in men a number of years after their blood was tested for vitamin D levels, high vitamin D blood levels did not have a link to reduced prostate cancer risk. If anything, there was a link between increased vitamin D intake and an increased risk of the aggressive prostate cancer.

Vitamin D and Pancreas Cancer Risk

There is some debate about the role of vitamin D in reducing pancreas cancer risk with some vastly different results. One study involving 120’000 men and women found that participants with higher intakes of vitamin D had a progressively lower risk of pancreas cancer compared to the lower intake participants. However, this study used questionnaires which involved patients estimating their diet and there vitamin D levels.

In a PLCO study, no link was found between vitamin D level and reduced pancreatic cancer risk.

Should you take vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for the functioning of the human body. If you do not get much sunlight exposure, and/or you are over the age of 50, vitamin D supplements might be a good idea just for maintaining good health. To identify any vitamin D deficiency, have a blood test done by your doctor.

As to whether vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer, there is a great deal of data for and against it. The strongest evidence is for colorectal cancer prevention. However if you are concerned about prostate cancer, taking high levels of vitamin D might in fact increase your risk. There is potential benefit, but also potential risk of prostate cancer for men. At this stage the best decision you could make, would be to consult with your doctor and determine your levels then decide if you need more vitamin D.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, so many people are becoming more interested in how to prevent prostate cancer and detect it early. Most people know someone who has been affected by prostate cancer, be it a friend or member of the family.

Because of it’s prevalence, chances are that if you live to an old age you may very well be affected by prostate cancer and quite often elderly people live with prostate cancer for many years until they pass away from a different illness.

To look at avoiding prostate cancer, you must first understand the main causes of the disease. The major risk factors for prostate cancer:

  1. Age: the average age of diagnosis for prostate cancer is around 70 years old. As you grow older your risk of prostate cancer increases
  2. Family History: If you have a close relative who is afflicted by prostate cancer, your chance of having it is doubled. If your relative was diagnosed at a young age (below 55), then your chances are increased even further
  3. Race: certain races are more likely to develop prostate cancer. African Americans are the most likely to develop prostate cancer which Asian men are the lowest. If the races live in a western country, their likelihood of having prostate cancer will increase (see below)
  4. Location: the risk of prostate cancer is much higher in certain countries like the USA with American men having 8 times more chance of having prostate cancer than someone who has lived in rural Japan their whole life. There is some research indicating that inadequate vitamin D from lack of sunlight exposure also increase risk and location plays a role there as well.

Most of those risk factors appear set in stone and there isn’t much you can do about them – until you examine why these risk factors exist. Why do men in western countries suffer from prostate cancer more often? The answer is mostly because of the foods they eat. The western diet is full of foods that produce oxidative damage to the DNA, while the Asian diet is much healthier.

Let’s look at some of the things we can modify to lower these risk factors and recognise the disease in it’s early stages.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. By eating fewer calories each day and maintaining a healthy weight you will be lowering the risk of prostate cancer. Being obese will increase your risk of getting prostate cancer
  • Limit intake of red meat and dairy food. Both of these food groups have been linked to an increase risk of prostate cancer, as well as other cancers like Bowel Cancer. Eat more plants than animals.
  • Avoid trans fats like those found in many types of margarines.
  • Limit your vices. Don’t smoke and only drink alcohol in moderation
  • Don’t intake too much calcium. There is some evidence suggesting that ingesting large amounts of calcium can increase the chances of prostate cancer
  • Eat more fish. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have some role in preventing prostate cancer
  • Deal with medical problems immediately. High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and depression should all be treated immediately as they lower survival rates for prostate cancer patients
  • Don’t take too many vitamins. For many people it helps to take a few vitamins but partaking in too many can increase risk of prostate cancer. Eating a better diet can make vitamins unnecessary
  • Relax and enjoy yourself. Sounds like a good idea right? You can actually lower your risk of getting cancer if you lead a lower stress life combined with a healthy diet
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet. This is the most important point – eat a diverse diet which includes plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and healthy oils
  • Have regular checkups, especially if you are have a higher risk factor. If you are African American or have a family history, you should be more vigilant in have your prostate checked for cancer. Have the PSA test and rectal examination more often if you have increased risk factors

Some studies also suggest that exercising can lower your risk of prostate cancer, but that has been rejected by other studies. In any case, exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, feel better and live longer so is highly recommended.

These tips can be used to avoid all kinds of cancer, so they won’t just help you avoid prostate cancer, but can help you avoid lung cancer, bowel cancer and heart disease.