September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month and one way to get the message out on the second most common cancer in men is to know how to reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer to begin with.
All men need to know the basic facts on prostate cancer:
· Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of U.S. men
· Each year more than 29,000 men will die from this disease
· If diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent
· At ten years post diagnosis, 98 percent of men diagnosed early, remain alive
· One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
“This complex disease does not have to take over a man’s life,” said Dr. David Samadi, chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Even though some factors a man cannot change such as a family history of prostate cancer or being African American, both which can increase risk of the disease, men who make mindful decisions on their dietary and lifestyle habits can have a significant impact on reducing their chance of developing it to begin with.”
The earlier in life a man embraces a healthy lifestyle, the greater the likelihood he can either avoid prostate cancer or at least catch it in its earliest stage, vastly improving the chance of survival. Preventative steps all men should take include the following:
· Eata prostate friendly diet
There are certain foods that do appear to have a positive role in helping to prevent prostate cancer.
“Millions of men are taking multivitamins and prostate health supplements daily,” explained Dr. Samadi. “However, natural food, fruits and vegetables are still the best available options for preventing prostate cancer.”
Men should include these foods in their daily diet:
· Tomatoes – Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer. Research suggests that lycopene may inhibit prostate cancer growth and metastases. Lycopene is better absorbed when tomatoes are cooked and blended with healthy fats such as olive oil.
· Cruciferous vegetables – Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, kale. Arugula, and rutabagas. These cancer fighting vegetables contain compounds that may detoxify carcinogens stopping cancer cells from growing and dividing. The more these vegetables are eaten, the lower the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. It is recommended to consume at least ½ cup serving a day of a cruciferous vegetable.
· Soy – There is limited data on soy and prostate cancer but studies have shown compounds in soy called isoflavones inhibit prostate cancer cell growth, invasion, migration, and metastasis.
· Reduce processed meat – Processed meats include salami, bologna, deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, and sausage. There is substantial evidence that suggests regular eating of these products increases the risk of chronic illnesses and death. Processed meats often contain preformed N-nitroso compounds, nitrites, nitrates, and added salt, which have cancer promoting properties.
· Coffee – Before a prostate cancer diagnosis, coffee drinking is associated with a 60% reduction in the risk of lethal prostate cancer among men who drink up to 6 cups a day versus men who consume a lot less. This association may be due to coffee’s antioxidant effects which may cut off cancer formation.
· Fish – Men who regularly consume at least 2 servings of fish every week have a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer. The data suggest that fish consumption – especially fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring – is beneficial for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
· Dairy/calcium – Calcium intake is important for men but studies have suggested that high intakes of calcium – more than 1,000 mg per day – can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Low-fat dairy products are a better choice for men as whole milk may increase the risk of disease progression or prostate cancer death. One cup of skim milk contains 300 mg of calcium and one cup of yogurt contains approximately 450 mg of calcium.
· Vitamin and mineral supplements – Other than a general multivitamin, the use of any single nutrient supplement is not recommended unless specifically recommended by a physician. There is no convincing evidence that supports the use of supplements protecting against prostate cancer. The one exception is vitamin D as many men are deficient in this fat-soluble vitamin but again, all men should consult with their physician before taking a vitamin D supplement.
· Increase physical activity
Exercise is important for everyone but men should remain as active as they can throughout their entire life. Increasing exercise has been associated with reducing prostate cancer risk and progression. Men should aim for at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-to-vigorous activity such as walking briskly – at least a 3 mph walk – jogging, swimming, or bicycling. Vigorous exercise should be done for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
· Maintain a healthy body weight
All men should know their body mass index number. Reaching and/or maintaining a healthy body weight can be achieved through eating a healthy diet and regular exercise.
· Quit smoking
Simply put, do not smoke. It not only may possibly increase the risk of prostate cancer but also other cancers along with heart disease, hypertension, emphysema, COPD and other health problems. If you currently do smoke, consult with your physician on taking steps to quit.
Dr. Samadi summarized by saying, “All men should do what they can to prevent their risk of developing prostate cancer. By making small but necessary lifestyle changes, this can have a huge impact on whether a man may be diagnosed with it or not. Also, wives and girlfriends can influence their loved one to be seen regularly starting at age 40 for prostate cancer screenings. Their loved ones life depends on it.”