6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

September 16, 2019

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could prevent prostate cancer? Unfortunately, we’re not there yet—but we do have an understanding of what measures can be taken to help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. One way is through a blood test to determine the prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels present in the blood. The higher the level of PSA in the blood, the more likely that a prostate problem exists.

However, it should be noted that while men with prostate cancer have elevated PSA levels in their blood, other conditions may affect PSA levels as well. Certain medications, medical procedures, prostate infection and an enlarged prostate can cause an increase of PSA levels. In other cases, some prostate glands naturally make more PSA than others.

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer and How to Reduce Them

It is important to take personal note that there are certain inherent factors that may contribute to developing prostate cancer: the risk increases rapidly for men 50 years and older; men of African American or African descent develop prostate cancer more than any other ethnic group; a history of family members diagnosed with breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer; and, a man’s risk doubles if their father or brother has been diagnosed with this disease.

There’s no absolute way to prevent prostate cancer, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Below are six ways to lower your risk of prostate cancer (and reduce the risk of progression for men on active surveillance):

  1. Sustain a healthy weight. A recent study correlated a link between those with a larger waist circumference and increased BMI were associated with higher prostate cancer risk.[1]
  2. Eat a healthy diet that consists of abundant fruits and vegetables, soy products, legumes, fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, and real food, as opposed to processed and refined foods. Consume animal fats and high-fat dairy in moderation.
  3. Limit alcohol intake. If you do drink, perhaps choose red wine as it may have antioxidants that benefit your health.
  4. Pour another cup of coffee (within caffeine moderation guidelines). Clinical studies suggest that drinking several cups of coffee each day may decrease your overall likelihood of developing prostate cancer as well as lowering the chances of fatal or high-grade prostate cancer.[2]
  5. Avoid tobacco. Smokers are more likely to have the cancer come back. In addition, those who quit smoking prior to diagnosis had a much lower risk of death.[3]

While it’s important to choose healthy lifestyle decisions for prostate cancer prevention, the most important thing you can do is get checked!  Be proactive by seeing your doctor annually for a digital rectal exam of the prostate and a PSA Screening. Talk to your urologist about your individual risk factors and the best plan for you.

Intervention Before the Onset of Prostate Cancer

Precancerous lesions are commonly seen on prostate biopsy many years before the onset of prostate cancer. We also know that there’s an increased prevalence of prostate cancer with aging. These facts suggest that the process of developing prostate cancer takes place over a long period of time—often more than a decade—from the initial prostate cell mutation to the time when prostate cancer manifests with either a PSA elevation, an acceleration in PSA, or an abnormal digital rectal examination.

Abnormal findings on these screening tests are what prompt prostate biopsies, the definitive means of diagnosing prostate cancer. The most common scenario that leads to a diagnosis of prostate cancer is a PSA acceleration, an elevation above the expected incremental annual PSA rise based upon the aging process.

An isolated PSA (out of context) is not particularly helpful. It is meaningful to compare PSA on a year-to-year basis and observe for any acceleration above and beyond the expected annual incremental change associated with aging and benign prostate growth. Many labs use a PSA of 4.0 as a cutoff for abnormality, so it is possible that you can be falsely lulled into the impression that your PSA is normal. For example, if your PSA is 1.0 and a year later it is 3.0, it is still considered a “normal” PSA even though it has tripled (highly suspicious for a problem) and mandates further investigation. For this reason, it is important to also get a PSA test early on as a baseline.

If it’s determined that you or someone you know has prostate cancer, finding the best cancer treatment center is essential to having the best possible outcome.

The Cancer Treatment Centers at New Jersey Urology provide patients with the most thorough, individualized care so that they receive the most effective cancer treatment while optimizing the patient’s quality of life. Having treated over 42,000 patients, NJU’s Cancer Treatment Centers offer comprehensive medical oncology and advanced radiation therapy in a safe, state-of-the-art environment.

Contact us today to make an appointment or request more information.

Written by Dr. Andrew Siegel

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/9-tips-to-prevent-prostate-cancer#make-time-for-exercise

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/9-tips-to-prevent-prostate-cancer#pour-another-cup-of-coffee

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/9-tips-to-prevent-prostate-cancer#if-you-smoke-try-to-stop

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