One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. And although treatment and early detection are important, prostate cancer prevention is critical in slowing down the rate of this disease, as well as other male cancers.
Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in men over 75 years old. Age and family history are the primary risk factors. Prostate cancer rarely occurs in men under the age of 45-50 years old. It is also much more likely (double the risk) if you have a first-degree relative with prostate cancer, particularly a brother. Other risk factors include being of African American descent, having high blood pressure, frequent exposure to environmental toxins (such as farmers, tire plant workers, painters, men who have been exposured to cadmium or agent orange), and a diet high in fat (particularly animal fat).
Common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include:
• Frequent urination, especially at night
• Difficulty starting or stopping the urine flow
• Inability to urinate
• Weak or decreased urine stream
• Interrupted urine stream
• A sense of incompletely emptying the bladder
• Burning or pain during urination.
Prostate cancer can be prevented in many cases (genetics excluded) by eating well, exercise, sleeping and overall making good lifestyle choice.
A diet low in animal fat is one way to protect yourself against prostate cancer. Limit your intake of red meat to one serving a week. Include lean animal proteins, such as fish (and fish oil!) and chicken more often, as well as focus on plant-based proteins, such as quinoa, beans and lentils. Add nuts and seeds to your daily routine, as they are a good source of protein and essential fats, as well zinc. Try pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts and flax seeds. Add them to your morning (slow cooked) oatmeal, as oats are a great source of fiber. Add tomatoes to your diet because they contain the antioxidant lycopene – especially cooked tomatoes. A study found that men who ate two servings of tomato sauce a week had a 23% reduced prostate cancer risk. Cooking tomatoes with olive oil has been shown to increase lycopene absorption. Lycopene is also found in guava, apricots and watermelon.
Supplements can be beneficial. as well. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Therapeutic dosages are difficult to get through diet alone, so consider a supplement. Research has shown curcumin to have chemopreventive and growth inhibiting activity, across a number of tumor cell lines, including that of the prostate. Clinical studies also show that extracts of saw palmetto, nettle, pygeum and pumpkin seeds are important nutrients supporting prostate health and reducing prostate enlargement.
If you smoke… stop. This nasty habit has been shown to play a role in aggressive types of prostate cancer.
A good night’s sleep may reduce the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. A study showed that men who slept longer and with less interruption had increased levels of the hormone melatonin in their urine. They were 75% less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than men who had less melatonin.
Recent studies show that exercise – both pre- and post-diagnosis – is important to a good treatment outcome. Men who were the fastest walkers prior to diagnosis and surgery had more normally shaped blood vessels in their tumors, compared to those who walked the slowest. These normal-shaped blood vessels can inhibit the spread of cancer and improve the effectiveness of treatments.
To learn more about what supplements support prostate health, contact Village Green Apothecary.
Photo from here, with thanks.