3 ways to prevent prostate cancer
The month of November is a time for us all to focus on increasing men’s health awareness, especially regarding prostate cancer, the second-most-common cancer afflicting men (behind only skin cancer). One in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, but there are things that can help prevent that from happening to you.
The following three areas of prevention are what you should focus on: physical activity, vitamins and medicines. While the American Cancer Society tells us that there is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, these things can lower your risk.
Diet, physical activity, and body weight
Your day-to-day regimen of food and exercise can go a long way in terms of prevention. Specifically, try eating at least 2-1/2 cups of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Couple that with leading a healthy, physically active lifestyle — get and and go for a jog, join a friendly basketball game, take a swim, etc.
Whatever kind of exercise you enjoy most, go out and do it. That should help you with the last part: maintaining a steady (and healthy) body weight.
Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements
This is something you should consult your doctor about before doing, since each person’s body is different and will require a different set of vitamins, minerals and supplements. And even the best, most well-thought-out regimen might not make a huge difference — but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth at least looking into.
Vitamin E and selenium have been shown in some studies to help prevent prostate cancer, while other studies have reached different conclusions. Researchers are currently investigating whether soy proteins (or isoflavones) aid in prostate cancer prevention, but it will be some time before those studies are complete. Again, speak with your doctor about what might help you, specifically.
Much like with vitamins, minerals and supplements, using medicines to help fend off prostate cancer is something each of us needs to consult with our doctor about first. Particularly with medicines, sometimes the risks may outweigh the potential rewards. Taking a daily aspirin, for example, has been shown to reduce prostate cancer risk — but at the cost of possible increased bleeding.
Doctors are currently studying the effects of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which include the drugs finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), on prostate cancer prevention. Already those drugs are used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous growth of the prostate, but beyond that the conclusions are not yet clear.
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