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How to Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

While there’s no way to prevent prostate cancer, there are several measures you can take to reduce your risk. Good news: The steps you can take to reduce your risk are also the same steps you take to maintain good overall health, dealing with diet, exercise and health education.

Table of contents

What is prostate cancer?

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

Risk reduction tip 1: Know your family history of prostate cancer

Risk reduction tip 2: Eat a healthy diet

Risk reduction tip 3: Become physically active

Risk reduction tip 4: Recognize the symptoms of prostate cancer

Risk reduction tip 5: Talk with your doctor

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate – a walnut-sized gland in men – develop DNA changes that make abnormal cells grow more quickly than normal cells. These abnormal cells combine to form a tumor. Sometimes, the tumor may grow quickly and cancerous cells spread to distant areas of the body. Other times, prostate cancer cells grow so slowly that they never become problematic. Often, men don’t experience symptoms of prostate cancer until later stages.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

Many risk factors for prostate cancer are things that you cannot control. For example, age. Prostate cancer occurs most frequently in men who are over 50 years old, and the risk continues to increase with age.

In addition, prostate cancer happens more often to African American men. One in seven African American men will have prostate cancer during their lifetimes.

Even where you live has an effect on your risk for prostate cancer; it is more common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia and the Caribbean islands.

Even though these risk factors cannot be controlled, you can minimize your risk by understanding your risk. Talk about your risk factors with your doctor, who can recommend screening options for you based on your level of risk.

1: Know your family history of prostate cancer

Although prostate cancer can happen to people with no family history, a genetic component does exist. According to the American Cancer Society, a man has twice the risk of prostate cancer if he has a father or brother who has had it. If a man has several family members who’ve had it – especially while they were young – the risk increases.

If you do have a family history of prostate cancer, discuss this with your doctor to learn if and when you should get a prostate cancer screening.

2: Eat a healthy diet

Although studies haven’t been conclusive regarding the connection between diet and prostate cancer, enough evidence exists for doctors to encourage patients to eat healthy diets that may possibly reduce their cancer risk – in addition to receiving many other health benefits of a healthy diet. Suggestions include:

  • Reduce your dairy intake, as some studies have found a connection between a high dairy intake, calcification and prostate cancer.

3: Become physically active

As with the other measures, it’s hard to find concrete evidence that exercise can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. But enough evidence exists that it might. By getting regular exercise, you not only can possibly reduce your risk of several types of cancer, but you’ll achieve a wide variety of other health benefits, such as improving your heart health, maintaining proper weight and reducing your risk of heart disease.

4: Recognize the symptoms of prostate cancer

One of the best tools to maintain positive health is education. While knowing how to recognize prostate cancer can’t reduce your risk, it can give you the next best thing: an early diagnosis with the best possible outcomes.

While some men don’t experience any symptoms at all, others experience symptoms that include difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or semen, unintended weight loss and erectile dysfunction. If you experience any of these conditions, make an appointment to talk with your doctor about a possible screening.

To learn more about prostate cancer, read our article, Nine Things to Know About Prostate Cancer.

5: Talk with your doctor

Whether you experience symptoms or have increased risk – or even if you don’t – talk to your primary care provider about prostate cancer. Discuss your general health and any concerns you have, and if you need a screening, your doctor can screen you in the primary care provider’s office – no hospital trip required.

For those who do receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, AnMed Health is a leading provider of prostate cancer treatment, including robotic prostatectomy, which gives surgeons enhanced precision, and the SpaceOAR System, which increases the safety of prostate cancer procedures.

If you’d like to talk with a primary care provider in the Anderson, South Carolina area, find an AnMed Health physician near you, or call us at 864-512-3748 to learn more.

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