Strategies to reduce prostate cancer risk
Prostate Cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and the fourth most common cancer overall. It develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland grow more quickly than is normal, forming a malignant tumour. Of the known prostate cancer risk factors, the most important are age, ethnicity, genetic factors and possibly dietary factors. Considering that factors such as age and ethnicity cannot be changed, knowing how to prevent this cancer remains the best choice.
Did you know?
In 2020, it was estimated that over 145,000 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in Australia. This equates to an average of just under 400 people per day receiving a cancer diagnosis, with more than half of these cases being in males .
The number of new cases of diagnosed Prostate Cancer increased from 3,606 in 1982 to 19,305 in 2016. This figure was projected to drop to 16,741 in 2020 .
In 2020, in Australia, prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer overall .
In 2020, in New Zealand, prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer both in males and overall , with more than 650 deaths from prostate cancer each year .
Prostate cancer incidence increases with age. Although it is very unusual in men younger than 40 years, rates increase after the age of 50 years; or 40 years in black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer .
Men with a family history of prostate or breast cancers had a greater risk of prostate cancer than those who didn’t. Men with a family history of prostate cancer had a 68% greater risk of developing prostate cancer, those with a family history of breast cancer had a 21% greater risk; and men with a family history of both prostate and breast cancers had a 61% higher risk of prostate cancer than men with family history of either .
It is estimated that 42 percent of all cancer cases and nearly 50% of cancer deaths are preventable . Lifestyle factors have been linked to a variety of malignancies, including prostate cancer .
Prevention of Prostate Cancer includes many lifestyle and nutritional strategies, and genetic counselling for patients with a family history is recommended.
Genetic counselling should include a discussion of the risks and benefits of genetic testing, as not all individuals who inherit a gene mutation that predisposes them to prostate cancer will go on to develop it. Rather, they have inherited a greater risk of developing the disease .
Diet can influence the development and progression of prostate cancer:
Milk and dairy products:
The evidence is mixed, with studies showing some association between prostate cancer and milk and dairy products.
A number of studies have shown either no association or even a negative association between dairy products and prostate cancer risk:
Animal fat and meat:
Polyunsaturated fatty acids:
Fruits and vegetables:
Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, choy sum, swede, turnip):
Vitamin E Supplements
Vitamin D Supplements suppresses cancer cell growth, inhibits cancer from spreading, and look more like normal cells, tending to spread slower
Lifestyle changes and gene expression:
Occupational and external exposure:
What can we do about it
Maintain a healthy weight
Keep your body moving with plenty of exercise
Avoid vitamin E supplements. Obtain Vitamin E naturally from your diet 
Wisely expose yourself to sunshine or take vitamin D supplements
Limit or avoid red meat and dairy products
Eat lots of vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radish and bok choy
Discuss prostate cancer screening options with your GP
Be alert to early signs and symptoms:
It is important to be aware that in its early stages, prostate cancer may not show any symptoms. Some symptoms of early prostate cancer may include:
There are some additional symptoms that can be associated with advanced prostate cancer, but also with benign prostate cancer hyperplasia, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. These symptoms may include:
Your genes do not fully determine your destiny. You can choose to adopt healthy habits to minimise your risk of developing prostate cancer, or if it is already present, to minimise the progression of your prostate cancer.
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