Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with over 248,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. It is estimated that about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. However, there are steps that men can take to reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer and to detect the disease early, when it is most treatable.
Reducing your risk of prostate cancer starts with making healthy lifestyle choices. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, avoiding high-fat foods and red meat, and maintaining a healthy weight, can lower the risk of developing prostate cancer. Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, so it’s important to stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
Additionally, there are certain dietary supplements that have been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Some studies have shown that vitamin E, selenium, and lycopene (found in tomatoes) may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. However, it’s important to discuss any dietary supplements with a healthcare provider before adding them to your routine, as some supplements can interact with medications or other health conditions.
In addition to lifestyle choices, early detection strategies can also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that men talk to their healthcare provider about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening starting at age 50 for men at average risk. For men at higher risk, such as African American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer, screening should start at age 45. For men at even higher risk, such as those with multiple family members who have had prostate cancer before age 65, screening should start at age 40.
Prostate cancer screening typically involves a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood, and an elevated PSA level can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is suspected, a biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with a healthcare provider about the potential benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening, as well as any other health concerns related to prostate cancer.
By making healthy lifestyle choices and staying on top of regular screenings, men can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer and increase the likelihood of detecting the disease early, when it is most treatable. Understanding the risk factors, knowing the early detection strategies, and having open discussions with healthcare providers can help men take proactive steps to protect their prostate health.