Source: Well Source Newsletter
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the United States, an estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. And about 28,170 men will die of this disease. And even though the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 99 percent when found and treated early, research suggests that a healthy diet may help prevent this cancer from developing.
Common risk factors for prostate cancer include: being older (over age 65), having a family history of prostate cancer, being African American, and being obese. But newer research suggests that a poor diet may also add to that list. And once a man has prostate cancer, diet may affect how fast the cancer grows and if it comes back after a man has been treated.
Food to limit
Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Men at risk for prostate cancer also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. But doctors are not sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk.
Some studies have linked eating a lot of animal fat to a higher risk of prostate cancer. And researchers believe it might be the way that the animal fat is cooked that makes a difference. As an example, one study found that eating greater amounts of meats, especially grilled meat, was linked to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Another study suggests that men who eat deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts more than once a week had a greater risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who ate these types of food less than once a week.
But it may not just be cooked animal fats to avoid. The National Cancer Institute says that “a diet high in dairy foods and calcium may cause a small increase in the risk of prostate cancer.”
Food to consume
Several studies have suggested that diets high in certain vegetables (including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, soy, beans, and other legumes) or fish may be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially more advanced cancers.
Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits is important for disease prevention in general. These types of food contain a variety of phytochemicals that promote health. One of those protective nutrients is lycopene. It is found in red vegetables and fruit. Research suggests that men who eat high amounts of lycopene from tomato products have a lower risk of prostate cancer compared to men who eat less. Other foods shown to help prevent prostate cancer include fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, pomegranate and green tea.
Prostate cancer is treatable. But it is also highly preventable. To prevent prostate cancer, men should eat a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry may also be consumed in moderation.
Encourage healthy lifestyle choices
In addition to eating a healthy diet, there are many other things men can do to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Exercising, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight can help. Research shows that being a healthy weight helps prevent prostate cancer. Being obese increases the risk for developing prostate cancer, and recurrence for those who have already had it.
Review risk factors for prostate cancer
Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about their health, risk factors for prostate cancer, and appropriate tests for cancer screening, such as the PSA blood test. Men with an increased risk for prostate cancer (African Americans, or men who have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65) should talk to their doctor starting at age 45 to take preventive measures and consider testing for prostate cancer.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.