More than 44,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, with more than 10,000 sadly passing away from the disease.
These high numbers mean that prevention and early detection are essential. But it’s not always that easy—prostate cancer can develop even if you don’t have any known risk factors.
However, there are several things you can do to drastically reduce your risk.
Leading a healthy, preventative healthcare-focused lifestyle, for example, can make all the difference. Discover how to do this effectively and learn more about prostate cancer prevention in our latest blog post.
Understanding prostate cancer risk factors
If you want to prevent prostate cancer, it’s important to not only understand the risk factors that could potentially cause it but also remember that some risk factors cannot be changed.
Some of the risk factors you simply cannot control include:
- Your age — the older you are, the greater your risk. Prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 50, with the most common age for diagnosis being between 70 and 74.
- Your race — despite one in four black men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK, a study by Prostate Cancer UK showed that only 20% of Black men knew their race was a potential risk factor for the disease. However, the prevalence of prostate cancer within the Black community is not purely down to race as a whole. Inequalities in healthcare can mean Black men have less access to the healthcare they deserve, leading to an increased risk.
- Your family history — a close male family member, such as a father or brother, also having prostate cancer means you may have an increased risk.
While these factors are impossible to change, they do not guarantee that you will develop prostate cancer. Other factors that you do have control over can also play an important role.
Your diet and other lifestyle choices you make can impact your overall health, including your risk for prostate cancer. Therefore, actively working to change the risk factors and attending regular prostate screenings, can minimise your risk and enable earlier detection and treatment.
Diet and its role in prostate cancer prevention
Eating a nutritious diet is something we should all strive to do anyway, but by doing so, you could also reduce your prostate cancer risk.
Reducing the amount of fat you eat will not only benefit your overall health, but it could also lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Lots of foods contain fat, and your body needs fat — just in smaller amounts than most people consume. Choosing low-fat options can enable you to maintain a healthy heart and weight, as well as decrease your prostate cancer risk.
Food high in fat you should avoid or reduce your consumption of include:
- Butter and lard
- Palm oil
- Coconut oil and coconut cream
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Processed meat products, such as sausages
Foods low in fat include:
- Leafy greens
- Beans and legumes
- Sweet potatoes
- Low-fat or fat-free versions of dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk
You should also look to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day as they are full of the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy. Although research is currently limited, some studies have found that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables can decrease your risk of prostate cancer.
Exercise and physical activity for prostate health
Our bodies need exercise, and not getting enough of it each week can lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Ideally, you should be partaking in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week – and this doesn’t just have to be at the gym. Simply going for a walk or gentle jog, swimming, or riding a bike all counts and can make a big difference to your overall health.
Being overweight has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. However, incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle can help you lose extra weight and maintain a healthy one.
If you aren’t currently exercising, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting to make sure it’s safe for you to do so.
Screening and early detection
Prostate cancer screening is crucial for early detection. Without it, your cancer can be discovered at a much later state, making it a lot harder to treat.
Prostate cancer doesn’t often have noticeable symptoms during its early stages. This means that by the time symptoms manifest and you seek help, the cancer could have developed to a more aggressive stage.
As one of the most common cancers affecting men in the UK, the only way to reduce the impact prostate cancer can have is via regular screening and early detection.
The earlier prostate cancer can be treated, the higher the likelihood of treatments being effective and providing you with a successful outcome.
Types of prostate cancer diagnostic tests
There are a few different tests carried out to screen and diagnose prostate cancer. These can include:
- Blood tests — these measure your prostate-specific antigens (a protein produced by your prostate). High levels can indicate a problem with your prostate.
- Physical exam — during a physical examination, the doctor may insert a gloved finger into your rectum to assess the size, shape and texture of your prostate. Any abnormalities will need to be investigated further.
- Biopsy — if any abnormalities are detected during your prostate screening, a biopsy (small sample of tissue) may be taken to check for cancerous cells.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan — this scan creates a digital image of your prostate and checks for any abnormalities or signs of cancer.
While the idea of a prostate screening can feel embarrassing, it’s performed as quickly as possible, and your healthcare professional will prioritise your comfort throughout. A few moments of potential discomfort are worth it to detect cancer earlier, providing you with peace of mind over your prostate health.
Lifestyle changes for lowering prostate cancer risk
Leading a healthy lifestyle can positively impact your prostate health (and your overall well-being). Some of the best lifestyle changes you can implement to lower your prostate cancer risk include:
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated
- Limiting your intake of red meat and highly processed foods
- Managing your stress levels effectively
- Giving up smoking
- Reducing your alcohol intake
Combining these healthy lifestyle changes with regular prostate screenings can help maintain your prostate health and keep your risk of prostate cancer low.
Get in touch with Echelon Health
Although it’s not always possible to prevent prostate cancer, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk. Likewise, with the support of early detection and screening, prostate cancer can be treated as soon as possible.
At Echelon Health, we champion preventative healthcare and offer a wide range of different health assessments to put your health first. Our assessments include Platinum and Gold, both of which offer a full prostate screening as well as a plethora of other preventative health tests.
If you want to put your health first and start your journey towards reducing your risk of, and possibly preventing, prostate cancer, book a health assessment with Echelon Health today. Our dedicated team can help you choose the right package or create a tailored one just for you.