On Your Health

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Helping Men Prevent Prostate Cancer

28 October 2016

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Every year, more than 300,000 men in the United States lose their lives to cancer. In Oklahoma, cancer is the leading cause of death in males between the ages of 55 and 74 years old, and prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer diagnosed in men.

Who is at risk for prostate cancer?

For men who are concerned about prostate cancer, there are several factors that may contribute to their likelihood of developing cancer. These may include:

  • Age. Men 50 years or older are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. Nearly 65 percent of all prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men older than 65.
  • Race. African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer; however, men of all races are at risk, specifically if they maintain a sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy diet.
  • Diet. While studies vary, diets high in fat and low in produce may increase your risk for prostate cancer.
  • Obesity. Studies have not directly correlated obesity with cancer rates; however, if you are obese and do develop prostate cancer, it is likely to be a more aggressive version of the disease.
  • Family history and genetics. If your father or brother has had prostate cancer, you are more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer.

Preventive Measures

While there are certain contributing factors, like genetics, you may not be able to change regarding your likelihood of developing prostate cancer, there are some changes you can make that may decrease your risk for the disease.

  • Choose a healthy diet. Diets filled with fruits and vegetables and low in fat can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, it is important to eat more fat from plants rather than from animals, as animal fats are more likely to contribute to prostate cancer. When you eat meats, choose fish and lean meats over fatty cuts of meat. Finally, reducing the amount of dairy products you consume each day can lower your risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. By maintaining a BMI of less than 30, you are less likely to develop a severe case of prostate cancer. Incorporating exercise into your routine not only benefits your overall health, but can reduce your risk for prostate cancer as well.
  • Avoid tobacco products. Men who use tobacco products are not only more likely to experience other health issues, they are more likely to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
  • Routine check-ups. In general, if prostate cancer does not run in your family and you are in a low-risk category, you should begin to have prostate exams around the age of 50. If you are African-American, doctors recommend you begin these exams at 40. However, if prostate cancer runs in your family and you have a high risk for the disease, consult your doctor on the ideal time to begin these exams.

Prostate cancer, once found and treated, has nearly a 100 percent survival rate after ten years if treated early. However, prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body reduces the survival rate to 28 percent after five years. For this reason, it is imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle and have the appropriate check-ups when necessary.

For more information about prevention, risk factors and warning signs, watch the video featuring Dr. Michael S. Holzer, an INTEGRIS urologist. If you’re interested in a preventive screening, find a doctor near you to set up your wellness exam.