There is no single way to prevent prostate cancer, but there are some steps men can take that may lower the risk of developing it.
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, and can lower inflammation
- Cooked tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant
- Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries contain antioxidants
- Cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout have “good” fats that don’t trigger inflammation
- Tea, particularly green tea, contains antioxidants such as catechins, which are thought to be anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic (they prevent healthy cells from mutating)
- Limit or avoid red meat, processed meats and other highly processed foods, added sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages
- Limit calcium supplements and excess dietary calcium
- Some studies have found a higher risk of prostate cancer in men whose diets are high in calcium
- Certain medications may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors such as finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous growth of the prostate, may help lower risk
- Some studies suggest daily aspirin may lower the risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer
- More research is needed to determine if the possible benefits outweigh the risks, which include an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding
- Certain supplements
- Vitamin E or selenium supplementation
- Soy and isoflavones
- Some research suggests soy proteins (soy isoflavones) may help lower prostate cancer risk
- Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements
What Are Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer often causes no symptoms in the early stages. As the cancer progresses, however, symptoms may appear.
Prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Problems with urination
- Slow or weak urinary stream
- Urinary urgency, especially at night
- Blood in urine or semen
- Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction, or ED)
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
- Loss of bladder or bowel control if the cancer presses on the spinal cord
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that spreads to bones
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
The cause of prostate cancer is unknown but it may be due to inherited or acquired genetic changes.
Risk factors for developing prostate cancer include:
- Age: increased risk in men after age 50
- Family history
- Genetic changes
- Geography: most common in North America, the Caribbean islands, northwestern Europe, and Australia
- Race/ethnicity: more common in African-American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races
- Other factors that might increase the risk of developing prostate cancer — though these links are less clear and have not been conclusively proven — include:
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
In order to get diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will look at your patient history and order a physical examination. This will include a digital rectal examination in which the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the prostate.
Other tests to diagnose prostate cancer include:
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