According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and one out of every six men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime.
With these growing statistics, it’s become even more important to raise awareness around the risks of prostate cancer, and informing the public about the necessary steps for prevention.
The greatest risk factor for prostate cancer is age, increasing significantly after the age of 50 in white men who have no family history of the disease and after the age of 40 in black men and men who have a close relative with prostate cancer. About two-thirds of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men age 65 and older.
Genetics also play a role. Having a father or brother with the disease more than doubles your risk for prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Screening for prostate cancer should start at age 40 for these men.
Race is also a factor; with about 60% more reported cases in African American men than in white American men. Interestingly, Japanese and African males living in their native countries have a low incidence of prostate cancer, with rates for these groups when they immigrate to the U.S. Some experts suggest a connection to the standard American high-fat diet, less exposure to the sun, and an increased prevalence of smoking.
With regards to diet, research suggests that high dietary fat in the form of saturated and hydrogenated fats may be a contributing factor prostate cancer. The disease is much more common in countries where meat and dairy products are dietary staples, compared to Asian or Mediterranean diets that consist of whole grains, soybean products, and vegetables.
Nutrition As Prevention
Proper nutrition is powerful offense! Taking a proactive role with your dietary habits could save your life, and prevent you from costly defensive measures once the cancer is diagnosed. There are also promising studies taking place to show how plant-based diets and the addition of a whole-food based concentrate may reverse the progression of cancer and reduce your chances of re-occurrence.
You can take control now, with these powerful nutritional steps:
Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables: Men who eat 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day can reduce their chances of getting cancer by 50 percent! You can achieve this by adding one fruit and one vegetable to every meal and snack. Spinach, carrots, green beans, and cabbage are high in folate and good for prostate health, so eat a spinach salad or throw a handful of baby spinach in your morning smoothie. Snack on carrots, or shred them on a sandwich. Steam some green beans and sprinkle them with a bit of sea salt, and top your fish tacos with shredded cabbage for a crunchy addition to your meal.
Cut down “bad” fats, increase “good” fats: Eating red meat 3-5 times per week could double your risk of prostate cancer. Rather, choose foods containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to combat cancer. Switch out beef for salmon, herring or mackerel to get the benefits of omega-3s or opt for plant-based sources of Omega 3’s such as the Salba grain which you can sprinkle on your oatmeal or add to tasty smoothies – see www.salbasmart.com for recipes.
Enjoy Red Wine: Studies published in The International Journal of Cancer report that men who consumed four glasses of red wine per week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent. Among men who consumed four or more 4-ounce glasses of red wine per week, we saw about a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer. This is due primarily to the compound in wine called resveratrol, an antioxidant which is abundant in the skins of red grapes but much less so in the skins of white grapes. Keep in mind that more than two drinks a day for men has shown to increase rates of cancer.
Take Vitamin D: Some studies support that getting sufficient levels of vitamin D can help to prevent prostate cancer. Few foods have vitamin D but fish liver oil and egg yolks are two good options. Check with your doctor about getting tested for vitamin D deficiency. Safe dosages range from 2,000 – 10,000 mg. per day, so it’s best to get an accurate account of the dosage that’s best for you.
30-Minutes for Exercise: Although obesity has not been directly linked to prostate cancer, it has been proven that obese men have a greater risk of dying from the disease as well as contracting a more aggressive form of the cancer. Exercising for 30 minutes per day, at least four times per week helps to prevent obesity. Men who engage in high levels of activity have less of a chance of contracting aggressive cases of prostate cancer than men who do not exercise.
Regular Checkups: Getting regular examinations can catch prostate cancer early before it progresses to a more advanced stage. Staying in regular contact with your doctor can about prevention and risks is important. In addition, your doctor may give you a digital rectal exam (DRE) or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that may help to discover any traces of prostate cancer at an early stage when treatment can be most effective.