To understand how to prevent prostate cancer, one must first understand what causes it. There are three major factors that influence one's risk for developing prostate cancer.
Age: Prostate Cancer is common after 65 years of age. There is no average age for diagnosis in India but internationally it is proposed to be around 69 years. The incidence increases every year after that age.
Race: All over the world, Asian men who live in Asia have the lowest risk; however when they migrate to the west, their risk increases.
Family history: A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer has a 2 times risk for developing it. This risk is further increased if the cancer was diagnosed at a younger age (less than 55 years of age) or affected three or more family members.
The factors above are difficult or cannot be changed, however, there are many things that men can do to reduce or delay their risk of developing prostate cancer. All things listed below do not have a very high level of evidence at present, but our research associates world over are working hard to find probable environmental and contributory causes.
Why is prostate cancer so common in the Western culture and much less so in Asia, and why when Asian men migrate to western countries the risk of prostate cancer increases over time? We believe the major risk factor is diet – foods that produce oxidative damage to DNA.
What can you do about it to prevent or delay the onset of the disease?
1. Eat lesser calories and exercise more to maintain healthy weight.
2. Decrease the amount of fat from non-vegetarian diet and dairy products to a minimum.
3. Watch your calcium intake. Do not take supplemental doses far above the recommended daily allowance.
4. If you take a mixed diet: Eat more fish – they have "good fat" particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid trans fatty acids (found in ghee / margarine).
5. Other antioxidant foods, which may be included, are: Cauliflower, tomatoes cooked in olive oil, soy and green tea are also potential dietary components that may be helpful in moderate amounts.
6. Avoid smoking for many reasons. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
7. Seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. Treating these conditions may save your life and will improve your survivorship with prostate cancer
8. What about supplements? Avoid over-supplementation with megavitamins. Too many vitamins, especially folate, may “fuel the cancer”, and while a multivitamin is not likely to be harmful, if you follow a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils you likely do not even need a multivitamin.
9. Relax and enjoy life. Reducing stress in the workplace and home will improve your survivorship and lead to a longer, happier life.
10. All of these advises together will not take away the risk of having cancer prostate to zero, hence if there are risk factors present, one must talk to his Urologist about screening for Prostate Cancer, its various modalities and risks and benefits.