Based on the findings of more than 200 studies conducted over nearly 20 years, these 7 steps are completely doable actions you can take to not only help prevent prostate cancer, the disease that will strike every 1 in 9 men, but also improve your overall health.
1. Prevent prostate cancer: diet
Your food choices play a significant role in the development of cancer, including prostate cancer. Many dietary recommendations are involved in this one suggestion. For example:
- Maximize your intake of fresh (organic when possible) fruits and vegetables, which typically contain high levels of anti-inflammatory and anticancer substances.
- Focus on healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids rather than saturated and trans fats. Monounsaturated fats are in olives and olive oil while omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, herring, oysters, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
- Choose whole foods, which don’t contain preservatives, artificial colors or flavorings, or other chemicals.
- Choose plant protein rather than animal protein. Plant protein provides all of the nutrition you need to support and maintain your prostate health. Protein is found in vegetables, soybeans, legumes, some grains (e.g., amaranth, quinoa), nuts, and seeds. Ease these foods into your menu.
2. Prevent prostate cancer: beware of supplements
Some nutritional and herbal supplements can be helpful for the prostate, such as saw palmetto and stinging nettle. Yet men need to be aware of the dangers associated with a few common supplements. Calcium supplements, for example, have been associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. Vitamin E supplements also are not recommended, as they’ve been shown to increase the risk of the disease among healthy men. Use of selenium supplements also have been associated with an increased risk of dying of prostate cancer among men with nonmetastatic disease.
3. Prevent prostate cancer: manage stress
Although stress may not have a direct impact on cancer development, chronic stress can weaken the immune system, cause fluctuations in hormonal balance, and make you more susceptible to disease. Stress reduction can include a wide range of activities, such as regular exercise (which has been shown to slow the spread of prostate cancer), tai chi, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, massage, reflexology, and progressive relaxation, among others.
4. Prevent prostate cancer: drink green tea
Green tea contains catechins, substances shown to help prevent the growth of cancer cells and encourage them to self-destruct (apoptosis). Catechins also can interrupt the actions of enzymes that promote the spread of cancer.
In 2017, a systematic review and meta-analysis found that higher (more than 7 cups daily) consumption of green tea was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. This study was significant because it was the first meta-analysis of green tea catechins and the incidence of prostate cancer.
5. Prevent prostate cancer: stay hydrated
Drink enough water. Sounds simple, right? Yet it’s so easy to become dehydrated and not even realize it. Do it often and the effects can be cumulative. Staying properly hydrated can support prostate health and thus be a player in the prevention of prostate cancer.
6. Prevent prostate cancer: watch your weight
Research has shown that being overweight is associated with a greater risk of prostate cancer as well as a lower survival rate. One example comes from the International Journal of Cancer in 2017 in which the authors found strong associations between weight gain and metabolic changes and prostate cancer progression.
In fact, many studies have pointed to the relationship between weight (especially abdominal weight) and progression of prostate cancer. Scientists have been trying to understand the reason for this relationship, including an increase in the estrogen-to-androgen ratio and enhancement of inflammation, which in turn contributes to conditions favorable to prostate cancer. This is an area that requires much more research.
7. Prevent prostate cancer: avoid toxins
Preservatives, pesticides, and other toxins have become a part of everyday life. They have infiltrated our food, water, air, clothing, furniture, cleaning products, personal care items, and more. These substances are taking a toll on your health, including your prostate. The best preventive measure is to choose all-natural products, including organic foods, untreated furniture, chemical-free health and cleaning products, and pesticide-free garden and pest control.
Men need to be aware of the daily steps they can take to help prevent the development of prostate cancer. The suggestions provided here are also relevant for men who may already have been diagnosed with the disease to help ward off spread of the disease and improve quality of life.
Dickerman BA et al. Weight change, obesity, and risk of prostate cancer progression among men with clinically localized prostate cancer. International Journal of Cancer 2017 Sep 1; 141(5): 933-44
Esser KA et al. Physical activity reduces prostate carcinogenesis in a transgenic model. Prostate 2009 Sep 15; 69(3): 1372-77
Guo Y et al. Green tea and the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore) 2017 Mar; 96(13): e6426
Jian L et al. Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: a case-control study in southeast China. International Journal of Cancer 2004 Jan 1; 108(1): 130-35
Kenfield SA et al. Selenium supplementation and prostate cancer mortality. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2014 Dec 12; 107(1): 360
Klein EA et al. Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). JAMA 2011 Oct 12; 306(14): 1549-56
World Health Organization. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and processed meat. 2015 October