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5 Ways You May Lower Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

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A healthy prostate is essential to every man's wellbeing, yet most men don't give the walnut-sized gland much thought until a problem develops. As men age, the prostate enlarges and can trigger problems, including prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related death in the United States. The good news is that the number of deaths can be dramatically reduced through prevention, early detection, and appropriate treatment.

In recognition of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, here are five ways you may lower your risk of prostate cancer compiled by ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer.

1. Get screened.

Catching prostate cancer early increases your odds of survival to nearly 100%, but screening can also catch a precancerous condition called HGPIN (high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia) allowing you to take action to slow, or possibly even prevent precancerous cells from becoming cancer.

Men over 50 should be screened every year. African American men and those with a family history of the disease should start at 40 or 45.

2. Eat right.

Eat your veggies. Three or more servings a day of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, can reduce your risk by as much as 40%.

Dine on tomatoes. Early studies show lycopene, found in tomatoes, can reduce the risk and slow the growth of prostate cancer.

Add some soy. Soy-based foods contain isoflavones, believed to slow cancer cell growth and lower PSA levels in men with early prostate cancer. Countries with high soy consumption have far lower levels of prostate cancer than the U.S.

Try more mushrooms. Mushrooms are a great source of selenium. Studies have shown men who regularly took selenium had half the risk of prostate cancer.

Take Vitamin E. A massive study is underway to confirm that Vitamin E supplements can reduce prostate cancer risk by over a third.

Enjoy fruits. Along with antioxidants, fruit contains fructose, a key player in the ability to process Vitamin D, a major prostate cancer fighter.

3. Drink right.

Drink your coffee. A recent study* says coffee is the biggest source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, 1,299 mg daily, for the average American adult. Tea came in second at 294 mg.

Sip some tea. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, believed to slow the growth of cancer. A study of men with HGPIN found that men taking green tea supplements developed prostate cancer at a far lower rate than those who did not. Polyphenols are also found in red wine and pomegranate juice.

4. Lower your cholesterol.

Research shows high cholesterol levels are strongly associated with advanced prostate cancer. The "western" diet—high in the type of fat found in meat and dairy products—is also strongly associated with cancer rates. Eating red meat five times a week doubles your risk of prostate cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, increase your "good" cholesterol, and may actually help prevent cancer.

5. Get some sun.

Sunlight is key to processing Vitamin D. Men with increased levels of Vitamin D may have as much as 45% reduction in risk of prostate cancer.

Calcium lowers Vitamin D levels in the body, and high levels of calcium are associated with far higher risk of prostate cancer. So, watch your calcium consumption, eat fruit, and get plenty of safe sunshine exposure.

These five steps can lower your risk of prostate cancer. Add an annual physical to your regular prostate cancer screenings, and you're well on your way to better prostate health!

*2005, University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania Study.

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7 Things to Tell Your Doctor on Your First Appointment for Bladder Leaks
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Making the Most of Your Next Visit to the Dr.