By Rachelle Lanciano, M.D., chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, Delaware County Memorial Hospital
Did you know prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men? If not, then it’s time to learn the facts and find out if you need to take action to prevent it from developing, particularly when you consider that this is Men’s Health Month.
Some men are at a higher risk than others for developing the disease, based on factors such as age, race and family history. Men 65 and older are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and the risk is even higher if you have a father or brother with the disease. While African-Americans and Asian-Americans are also more likely to develop this type of cancer, you should take precaution even if you don’t fall into any of these categories. About one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime.
With that said, all men can benefit from some simple lifestyle changes to improve their health and reduce their risk of prostate cancer. Here are some prevention tips:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer and you should make it a goal to get down to a healthy weight recommended by your doctor. You can do this by reducing the number of calories you eat and exercising more; speak with a nutritionist and your doctor to discuss the best meal plan and fitness routine for you. If you’re already at a good weight, maintain it with exercise and a balanced diet.
Stick to Healthy Diet
A diet that is low in fat and full of fruits and veggies may reduce your risk of prostate cancer, as well as other cancers and medical issues. A low-fat diet should include lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and fish high in Omega-3, such as salmon and tuna. Limit your calcium intake by swapping butter with olive oil and adding nuts or seeds to salads instead of cheese. Avoid foods that are high in trans-fats, including margarine and fast food.
Physical fitness not only helps you get to or stay at your goal weight, but it may also reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Exercise can also improve your overall health, as it lowers your risk of heart disease and other types of cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 days a week.
Stress, which has been known to trigger high blood pressure and depression, can be managed with meditation practices or, if needed, medication. Anxiety and stress can negatively affect you physically and it’s important to treat it for a healthier life.
Get Annual PSA Exams
Frequent cancer screenings are the best way to monitor the potential development of cancer in your body. Speak with your doctor regarding your risk of prostate cancer and the benefit of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and early detection. The earlier you detect prostate cancer, the sooner you can start treatment, which increases your chance of long term of control of the disease.