One of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in men, prostate cancer originates in the cells of the prostate gland. In frequency, it is second only to skin cancer. Every man is at risk—one in eight will be diagnosed during his lifetime—and the risk increases sharply after age 50.
Scientists continue to study prostate cancer, but its causes are not yet fully understood, and there is currently no surefire way to prevent it. However, researchers have identified certain factors that can increase the likelihood that a man will develop prostate cancer. While some of those risk factors, such as poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle and excess body weight, can be controlled; others cannot. Prostate cancer prevention focuses on reducing the risk by making positive lifestyle changes.
For men at average risk of developing prostate cancer, many experts suggest the following prostate cancer prevention strategy:
Eat a nutritious diet
Research has confirmed that healthy eating can lower the risk of prostate cancer as well as many other types of cancer. Toward that end, it is important to:
Avoid eating unhealthy fats
Some studies have linked a high-fat diet to several types of cancer, including prostate cancer. As such, saturated fats derived from red meats and dairy products should be limited to no more than 10% of daily caloric intake. Specific foods to avoid completely or eat in moderation include:
- Red meats, including beef, pork and lamb
- Processed meats, such as bacon, pepperoni and hot dogs
- Whole milk and other full-fat dairy products
- Butter, ghee and lard
- Cheese, especially hard cheese
- Whipped cream, sour cream and ice cream
- Biscuits, cakes and pastries
- Palm oil
- Coconut oil
Good substitutes include "healthy" unsaturated fats derived from fish, olive oil, nuts and avocados, and omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna and flaxseeds, which can also help reduce inflammation and support brain and heart health.
Reducing dietary fat has other proven benefits as well, such as helping with weight control and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Eat several servings of fruits and vegetables every day
Colorful fruits and vegetables are chock full of essential vitamins and nutrients that can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer. Additionally, red fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. Fresh citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes and kumquats are also great choices because they are loaded with vitamin C and other beneficial antioxidants that are toxic to cancer cells and can help suppress tumor growth.
Another benefit of eating more fruits and vegetables is that hunger can be satisfied in a healthy way, making it more likely that high-fat foods will be avoided.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day
Studies show that regular exercise provides a multitude of health benefits. In addition to reducing the risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer, it can improve heart health, metabolism, muscle mass and overall fitness. It can also be very effective for weight loss (if needed) and weight maintenance. Many experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day through an enjoyable activity such as walking, running, cycling or swimming.
Before starting a new workout program or ramping up the intensity of an existing exercise regimen, it is important to talk with a physician who can confirm that the intended activities are safe and appropriate.
Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
Men who are obese—which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher— may have an increased risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer. Therefore, losing excess body weight can be an effective prostate cancer prevention strategy. This can be accomplished by reducing daily caloric intake, exercising more frequently or both.
Talk with an expert at Moffitt Cancer Center
If you would like to discuss your prostate cancer risk profile with a specialist at Moffitt Cancer Center, you can request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online. The multispecialty team in our renowned Urologic Oncology Program includes experts in multiple disciplines who work closely together to provide comprehensive patient care. After we review your personal and family medical history, discuss your lifestyle and evaluate your symptoms (if any), we can recommend appropriate prostate cancer screening tests and create an individualized prostate cancer prevention strategy for you.
As Florida’s top cancer hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center provides every new patient with rapid access to a cancer expert within a day, which is faster than any other cancer hospital in the nation. A referral is not required.