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Preventing Prostate Cancer

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To date, no evidence proves that you can prevent prostate cancer. However, you may be able to lower your risk.

A diet that helps maintain a healthy weight may reduce your risk for prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends:

Recommended Related to Prostate Cancer

General Information About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate is just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of the semen. Anatomy of the male...

Read the General Information About Prostate Cancer article > >

  • Limiting high-fat foods
  • Cutting back on red meats, especially processed meats  such as hot dogs, bologna, and certain lunch meats
  • Eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day

Healthy food choices also include bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and beans.

Antioxidants in foods, especially in fruits and vegetables, help prevent damage to the DNA in the body's cells. Such damage has been linked to cancer. Lycopene, in particular, is an antioxidant that has been thought to lower the risk of prostate cancer. It can be found in foods such as:

  • Tomatoes -- both raw and cooked
  • Spinach
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Beans
  • Berries -- especially blueberries
  • Pink grapefruit and oranges
  • Watermelon

However, it's not clear whether lycopene actually helps prevent prostate cancer, and recent studies have not been able to show that it does. Read more about antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and beans.

Researchers continue studying other ways to lower prostate cancer risk. It’s still too soon, though, to know whether studies are finding new ways to prevent prostate cancer. Here are some examples of what's being considered:

  • Some doctors are looking at whether certain drugs, such as Avodart (dutasteride) and Proscar (finasteride), which are both used to treat an enlarged prostate that isn't cancerous, can help prevent prostate cancer.
  • Early studies showed that vitamins, such as selenium and vitamin E, may lower your chance of getting prostate cancer. Further research, though, has not shown this.
  • Doctors continue to study the effects of supplements on prostate cancer. For now, no vitamins or supplements are known to lower risk.

 

 

 

Testing for Prostate Cancer

While testing, or screening for prostate cancer, can find it early, experts disagree on whether it actually helps save lives. 

The American Cancer Society recommends that men talk to their doctor before having a test to check for prostate cancer. Men need to understand the risks and benefits of testing. Then, the man and his doctor can decide whether to proceed with testing using a PSA test and digital rectal exam.

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