Prostate Cancer Prevention

To date, no evidence proves that you can prevent prostate cancer. But a few simple things may help lower your odds.

Healthy Food

A diet that helps you stay at a healthy weight may cut your chances of having prostate cancer. These steps can help:

  • Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals over refined grain products.
  • Cut back on red meats, especially processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, and certain lunch meats
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day

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
  • Pink and red grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Guava
  • Papaya

It isn’t clear whether lycopene actually helps prevent prostate cancer. Recent studies haven’t been able to show that it does.

Testing for Prostate Cancer

Testing or screening for prostate cancer can help find the disease earlier. But experts disagree on when and if this testing should be done.

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 their doctor can decide whether to proceed with testing using a PSA test (a blood test that can screen for prostate cancer) and digital rectal exam.

When that discussion should take place is based on a man's age, level of risk, and general health status. Here are the general recommendations about what age to consider testing:

  • 50 -- Men with no symptoms and average risk.
  • 45 -- Men with higher risk, including African-Americans and men who had a brother, father, or son diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65.
  • 40 -- Men who have two or more first-degree relatives -- brother, father, or son -- diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65.

The American Urological Association suggests that men ages 55 to 69 who are considering screening should talk with their doctors about the risks and benefits of testing and proceed based on their personal values and preferences. The group also says:

  • Under 40 -- Screening isn’t recommended
  • 40 to 54 -- Routine screening isn’t recommended for men at average risk
  • 55-69 -- Screening every 2 years
  • 70 and older -- Screening isn’t recommended

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says PSA testing may be right for some men ages 55 to 69. The group recommends that men in this age group discuss the potential risks and benefits of testing with their doctor.


Frequent Ejaculation

Whether it’s from sex, masturbation, or wet dreams, men who ejaculate more appear to be less likely to get prostate cancer. Doctors aren’t sure why it helps, but they think it may help move potentially irritating substances out of the prostate.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on July 01, 2019



American Cancer Society: "Can prostate cancer be prevented?" "Diet and physical activity factors that affect risks for select cancers," “American Cancer Society Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Early Detection,” “Summary of the ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity,” “What’s New in Prostate Cancer Research?”

Mayo Clinic: "Lycopene," “PSA test.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Antioxidants: What You Need to Know.”

Medicine (Baltimore): “Lycopene and Risk of Prostate Cancer.”

International Food Information Council: “What is Lycopene?”

American Urological Association: “Early Detection of Prostate Cancer (2018).”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Final Recommendation Statement: Prostate Cancer: Screening.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Does frequent ejaculation help ward off prostate cancer?”

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