Prostate Cancer Prevention Isn't Just For Men
The prostate, a walnut sized gland found in men, isn’t something that most of us think much about, or even know much about. In fact, this small gland plays an important role in the male reproductive system. A common risk associated with this tiny gland is prostate cancer, with 1 in 7 men being diagnosed in his lifetime.
It may surprise you to learn, though, that prevention isn’t something a man has to do on his own. With several easy ways to lower his risk of prostate cancer, women can help ensure that these easy tips become a part of the daily routine. The first step is to learn about the risk factors for prostate cancer, these include:
- Age. Men ages 50 and older are at higher risk. Almost two-thirds of all prostate cancers are found in men over age 65.
- Race and nationality. Prostate cancer is more common in African-American men. It is less common in Asian-American and Hispanic men.
- Diet. Men who have a diet high in red meat or high-fat dairy foods and low in vegetables and fruits may have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.
- Obesity. Obesity has been linked with a higher risk of a more aggressive type of prostate cancer.
- Chemicals in the workplace. Men who are in contact with toxic chemicals at work may have a higher risk for prostate cancer.
- Genes. Men with certain inherited gene changes are at higher risk for prostate cancer, but only a small amount of prostate cancers are caused by this.
- Family history of prostate cancer. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer greatly raises a man's risk for the disease. The risk is even higher if more than one family member has the cancer, especially if at a young age.
While you cannot always control risk factors, there are several healthy habits you can adopt that not only help to prevent prostate cancer, but encourage a balanced and healthy lifestyle, too. By incorporating these tips as a family, both men and women will benefit.
- Eat fruits and vegetables every day. Make sure to include tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Also include beans, peas, and lentils.
- Don’t eat high-fat meats or high-fat dairy foods. These include hamburgers, sausage, cheese, and ice cream. Instead eat lean meats, such as fish, chicken or turkey. Substitute high-fat dairy foods for reduced fat options.
- Don’t get too much calcium in your diet. Too much calcium may raise your risk for prostate cancer. Normal amounts of calcium in dairy foods and drinks are fine. But talk with your health care provider before you take calcium supplements.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Obesity is linked to a higher risk for a more deadly type of prostate cancer.
- Get routine physical activity. Be active for at least 30 minutes most days.
Achieving a healthy lifestyle takes teamwork. By working together to incorporate healthy behaviors and routines, you are more likely to sustain these healthy habits by holding one another accountable. Prostate cancer prevention, as well as the prevention of many other diseases, begins with small, day-to-day changes.
However, if you are at a high risk of prostate cancer, or notice the symptoms, make sure to work with your physician. In the event that you or a loved one is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the Center for Cancer Care, a service of Gwinnett Medical Center, provides the best cancer treatment possible. With experienced specialists and extensive resources available, you will receive comprehensive, thorough care at every stage of the healing process.