Take these steps to help protect yourself from this common cancer in men.
Prostate cancer affects more than 50% of men by the time they're 80. This year, over 248,000 men in the U.S. may be diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Making a few changes in your life may help you avoid being one of them.
The prostate is a small gland that is about as big as a walnut. Located between the penis and the bladder, it makes fluid that helps sperm cells swim. The gland also controls the flow of urine. One sign that you may have prostate cancer is that your bathroom habits have changed—you may find it harder to pee, have a weaker stream or get up often during the night to go to the bathroom. Since these things can also happen if you don't have prostate cancer, it's best to see a doctor.
Although it may not be possible to completely prevent prostate cancer, here are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing the disease:
- Eat healthy. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat, poultry or fish. Stay away from junk food and fried, fatty, sugary foods or processed foods. Eat less red meat and choose lean cuts of beef when possible. The Prostate Cancer Foundation suggests eating more fish, cooked tomatoes, cauliflower and broccoli to lower your risk.
- Cut back on calcium. You may be less likely to get prostate cancer if you limit foods and beverages that contain calcium, like milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese and sardines. Men who eat or drink a lot of dairy products or who eat foods high in calcium were more likely to get prostate cancer in some research studies, according to the ACS.
- Be careful with vitamins. Don't take extra vitamins or supplements unless you check with your doctor first. Taking high doses of some supplements may affect your health. Vitamin E is one vitamin that could increase your prostate cancer risk, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
- Exercise more. Walking, running, playing sports and other activities help you stay healthier overall and might lower your risk of prostate cancer.
- Lose weight. According to one study, weighing too much can increase your chances of getting prostate cancer. Eating a healthy diet and staying active may help you lose excess weight.
- Don't smoke. Smoking can raise your risk of getting prostate or other types of cancer. Quitting smoking is a simple way to protect your health in more ways than one.
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Date Last Reviewed: July 19, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD