What to consider
Some factors are believed to encourage the growth of prostate cancer, whereas others may have a protective effect. Here are nine steps to take to help protect yourself.
That means saturated fat from animal products. Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects, are an important exception. These “good fats” are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, and halibut.
In a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, men who ate four or more servings of vegetables a day were 35 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who ate two or fewer servings per day. Men who ate cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, appeared to be at even lower risk:
Regular consumption of soy foods (such as tofu, soy protein, and soy milk) has been linked to a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.
In the Physicians’ Health Study, men who consumed the greatest amount of tomato products had a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who consumed the least.
Findings from a large randomized trial called SELECT (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial) demonstrated an increased risk of prostate cancer among vitamin E users.
In recent years, a high intake of calcium has come under scrutiny as a possible risk factor for prostate cancer, especially for men consuming 2,000 mg or more of calcium each day. For now, a sensible approach is to limit calcium to no more than 1,200 mg per day through food sources.
Increasing research suggests that exercise offers a protective effect against prostate cancer. Results from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study indicate that men 65 or older who are vigorous exercisers are 70 percent less likely to develop life-threatening prostate cancer.
Obesity—defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more—is known to increase the risk of some types of cancer. It is unclear whether obesity influences prostate cancer specifically, but several studies have found that obese men have higher-grade prostate cancers at diagnosis than men who are not obese.
Sunlight may protect against prostate cancer by promoting the body’s production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced in the skin during exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight.