Prostate cancer prevention: What you can do?

Excerpt from the

You may help avoid prostate cancer by exercising and eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish. But the jury’s still out on supplements and medications.

There’s no sure way to prevent prostate cancer — but you can make some choices that might help. Prostate cancer is complicated, and researchers are still trying to understand the full range of factors that cause it — and determine which prevention strategies are safe and most effective.

Experts know that diet and lifestyle choices play a part in prostate cancer risk. Some medications and supplements also show promise in preventing prostate cancer, but more research is needed in this area.

While any man can get prostate cancer, it’s most common in older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and in black men. While age, genetics and race are factors you can’t change, there are some factors you can control.

Here are a few things that you can do to help lower your risk of prostate cancer — and a few things that are still not proved, but might help. These steps may also help prevent other cancers and health conditions such as heart disease.

Nutrition and preventing prostate cancer

So far, research does not support definite nutritional guidelines for preventing prostate cancer. However, you can reasonably act on these suggestions: 

Don’t overeat. Eat moderate-sized portions and keep your calories under control.

Avoid high-fat foods. Prostate cancer rates vary greatly from one country to another, with the highest rates appearing in countries where people tend to eat a lot of fat. A diet high in saturated fats (such as animal fats found in red meat) may pose the greatest risk.

Make healthy choices. Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Limit sweets and salt.

Drink alcohol in moderation. Generally, this means no more than two drinks a day for men.

” Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. A diet high in fruits and vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of various kinds of cancer. Recent studies cast doubt on the theory that lycopene — an antioxidant found in tomatoes — lowers prostate cancer risk. But don’t stop eating tomatoes. Eating plenty of all kinds of vegetables, including tomatoes, may help ward off prostate cancer and other cancers.

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. While a diet high in most kinds of fat is linked to a higher risk of cancer and other health problems, there is an exception. Omega-3 fatty acids — a type of fat found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel — appear to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Experts are still studying other foods to see whether they help prevent prostate cancer. While the verdict’s still out, eating more of these foods probably won’t hurt — and may help prevent cancer and other health problems:

Eat soy products and legumes. Soybeans and other legumes contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-based chemicals that behave like the hormone estrogen in the human body. These chemicals might help to prevent prostate cancer. In fact, one possible explanation for lower rates of prostate cancer in Asian men is that they eat more soy protein.

Drink green tea. Green tea contains antioxidants such as polyphenols that may help prevent certain cancers and other health problems.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Prostate Cancer Prevention: What You Can Do.” Mayo Clinic. 9/23/09. Mayo Clinic, Web. 9/2/11.