(RxWiki News) September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Read on to learn what you can do this month to lower your risk.
Although there is no proven way to prevent prostate cancer, making healthy choices, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet, can help reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is around the size of a walnut and located just below the bladder. The prostate produces fluid that makes up a part of semen.
As a man ages, the prostate increases in size. And the risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age.
Some men face an increased risk for prostate cancer. African-American men are more likely than others to get prostate cancer. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer are also at an increased risk. Men who have an increased risk for prostate cancer should talk to their health care providers about getting screened earlier.
Many men between ages 55 and 69 should be screened for prostate cancer, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force. Speak with your health care provider about the risks and benefits of screening so you can make an informed decision.
Screening is not just recommended for those who have the risk factors mentioned above. And other health-focused organizations may have different age recommendations for screening.
Screening begins with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. This measures the level of PSA in the blood. Although a high PSA level may be tied to other conditions that affect the prostate, PSA levels can be high in men who have prostate cancer.
Screening is extremely important. For every 1,000 screenings done, one death and three cases of advanced prostate cancer can be prevented.
How can you reduce your risk for prostate cancer? Here are some tips:
- Get screened. Screening can help find many prostate cancers early. The American Cancer Society recommends screening at age 45 for men at high risk, age 40 for men at even higher risk and age 50 for men at average risk.
- Quit smoking. A study conducted from 1999 to 2010 looked at men from four different states and found that reduced smoking rates may lead to declines in prostate cancer mortality rates.
- Eat a healthy diet. Opt for a diet that's low in fat and full of fruits and vegetables. Try to eat more fat from plants than from animals.
- Eat healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are a good source of these healthy fats.
- Avoid eating charred meats. A chemical compound found in charred meats may increase cancer risk.
- Exercise regularly. Being overweight or obese is not only tied to a higher risk of prostate cancer but is also associated with many other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Ask your health care provider any questions you have about prostate cancer.