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Prostate Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI] - Prostate Cancer Prevention

Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.

Avoiding cancer risk factors may help prevent certain cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.

Recommended Related to Prostate Cancer

Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Prevention

There is no evidence that you can prevent prostate cancer. But 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: 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...

Read the Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Prevention article > >

The following risk factors may increase the risk of prostate cancer:

Age

Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 50 years of age. The chance of developing prostate cancer increases as men get older.

Family history of prostate cancer

A man whose father, brother, or son has had prostate cancer has a higher-than-average risk of prostate cancer.

Race

Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in white men. African-American men with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than white men with prostate cancer.

Hormones

The prostate needs male hormones to work the way it should. The main male sex hormone is testosterone. Testosterone helps the body develop and maintain male sex characteristics.

Testosterone is changed into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by an enzyme in the body. DHT is important for normal prostate growth but can also cause the prostate to get bigger and may play a part in the development of prostate cancer.

Vitamin E

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) found that vitamin E taken alone increased the risk of prostate cancer. The risk continued even after the men stopped taking vitamin E.

Folic acid

Folate is a kind of vitamin B that occurs naturally in some foods, such as green vegetables, beans and orange juice. Folic acid is a man-made form of folate that is found in vitamin supplements and fortified foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals. A 10-year study showed that the risk of prostate cancer was increased in men who took 1 milligram (mg) supplements of folic acid. However, the risk of prostate cancer was lower in men who had enough folate in their diets.

Dairy and calcium

A diet high in dairy foods and calcium may cause a small increase in the risk of prostate cancer.

The following protective factors may decrease the risk of prostate cancer:

Folate

Folate is a kind of vitamin B that occurs naturally in some foods, such as green vegetables, beans and orange juice. Folic acid is a man-made form of folate that is found in vitamin supplements and fortified foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals. A 10-year study showed that the risk of prostate cancer was lower in men who had enough folate in their diets. However, the risk of prostate cancer was increased in men who took 1 milligram (mg) supplements of folic acid.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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