This month our heath focus is Prostate Cancer Awareness.
Director, Health & wellness
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Of course, there's a national month or day for about every condition you can think of, but it bears mentioning that about 13% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. And of those men, about 15-23% will die from it. My family has a history of prostate cancer, so my male family members make it a point to get checked regularly as a preventative measure.
Screening is crucial to catch this cancer early enough to treat it. But when to get screened will depend on your risk factors.
When to get screened for prostate cancer
The biggest risk factor for prostate cancer is age: Men, age 65 or older, are the most likely to have prostate cancer, though the risk starts increasing around age 40. Most men should start getting screened around age 45, but you should start at 40 if you have any following risk factors.
- African ancestry. The most at-risk are men of African descent, followed by men of European descent. Least at risk are those of Asian and Hispanic descent.
- Family history. If multiple people in your family have had prostate, breast, ovarian, colon or pancreatic cancer, you may be more at risk.
- Poor diet. A diet high in fat and processed carbs is associated with higher risks.
There are also different types of prostate cancer: non-aggressive and aggressive. You’re more at risk of the aggressive kind if you smoke, eat very few vegetables, are obese, are tall, or rarely exercise.
What types of screening do you need? What about the dreaded rectal exam?
There are four common types of screenings for prostate cancer, from a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE) to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a biopsy. Ultimately, your doctor knows you best and will advise you on what they believe is the wisest course.
6 foods for prostate cancer prevention
Prevention for prostate cancer is what you'd expect: Get to a healthy weight and stay there, plus eat more fruits and veggies and fewer processed carbohydrates. Here are some of the top foods that research indicates may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and other green leafy vegetables contain sulforaphane, which reduces the ability of cancer cells to form colonies.
- Tomatoes. Lycopene, the substance that gives tomatoes their color, has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
- Green tea. A good source of catechins, a natural antioxidant associated with a reduction in cancer risk.
- Pomegranate juice. Also known to exhibit strong antioxidant properties, which may help prevent prostate cancer.
- Fish. The right kind of fish, such as salmon, provides omega-3 fatty acids that can help prevent you from developing adenocarcinoma, a common type of prostate cancer.
- Berries. High in beneficial phytochemicals, berries may fight cancer in multiple ways.
Prostate may be the focus for September, but October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Check out our other article about all the things both men and women need to know about breast cancer.