Improving Your Odds Against Prostate Cancer
It’s no secret that, aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer to afflict men in the U.S.* And while the causes of prostate cancer are not fully understood, there are simple steps that every man can take to help prevent it. See which tips apply to you.
THE NO BRAINERS
Quit smoking. C’mon, guys, you know it’s bad for you. And the older you get, the more harm smoking will do to your body. The Journal of The American Medical Association says that men with prostate cancer are much more likely to die from it (or experience a recurrence) than nonsmoking men. There are numerous products and resources available to help you quit smoking, so get the help you need if it’s too difficult to do it on your own.
Hit the gym. Studies indicate that men who exercise regularly reduce their risk of getting prostate cancer. Getting a healthy amount of exercise four or more days per week is recommended. Check with your doctor first to learn what amount of exercise is right for you, especially if you haven’t exercised much lately.
Hold the fries. Ask your doctor about your body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is 30 or above, that means you are overweight and, technically speaking, obese (even if you don’t look it.) Obesity increases your risk of getting prostate cancer. You’ll want to lose weight and get your BMI below 30. Make it a goal and you’ll be glad you did in more ways than one.
THE HAPPY SURPRISES
Drink more coffee. Okay, this won’t help much if you don’t touch the stuff, but if you do drink coffee, regular or decaf, it can help you avoid prostate cancer. Doctors aren’t yet sure what it is in coffee that helps, but according to menshealth.com, research indicates that men who drink coffee are 59% less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than men who don’t. And if you really hate coffee, there’s still good news; green tea and green tea extract have also been found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Real men eat broccoli and tomatoes, especially if they want to avoid prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes and either cooked or raw broccoli are time-tested deterrents to prostate cancer. Lycopene is the red pigment in tomatoes that most doctors believe helps, while broccoli contains compounds called isothiocyanates, which are also believed to lower the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease.
Watch your calcium intake. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, some calcium is okay, though avoid going over the recommended daily allowance. Taking supplemental calcium doses over 1,500 mg per day may increase your risk.
Tips can help, but keeping an eye out for any signs of prostate cancer is crucial. Warning signs that require an immediate prostate checkup include difficulty or pain while urinating or blood in your urine or semen. Most doctors recommend regular prostate gland checkups for men 45-50 years of age and older. If you’ve celebrated your 45th birthday and haven’t had yours checked yet, schedule an exam soon.