When it comes to prostate cancer, the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men, it’s important to know everything you can to avoid that diagnosis. Fortunately, there are steps a man can take to naturally lower his risk of developing cancer in this gland, which is situated directly below the bladder. By practicing natural methods of prevention, this can be of tremendous benefit to the gland responsible for producing fluid for semen.
Risk factors for prostate cancer
All men need to know the risk factors for prostate cancer. By learning what can increase his chances of developing this disease, he can gain awareness of any changes that are happening in his prostate. Some of these he can control and others he cannot. These risk factors include:
Some prostate cancer risk factors you can control, and some you cannot
- Age – occurs more frequently past the age of 50
- Family history of prostate cancer – particularly if his father or a brother were diagnosed with it
- Consuming a diet high in red meat and/or high-fat dairy products
- African American men have a higher incidence
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer
In the very early stages of prostate cancer, there may be no signs present. This is why it is imperative for all men, beginning at the age of 40, to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test to check for elevated levels of PSA indicating changes within the prostate gland. Other symptoms may include:
- Difficult and painful urination
- Having to urinate often, especially at night and having a feeling to urinate even when the bladder is empty
- Not completely emptying the bladder which may lead to dribbling of urine
- Weak urine stream
- Blood in the urine
- Low back pain
Four natural ways to help prevent prostate cancer
Research has suggested that there are steps a man can take to naturally help lower his risk of developing prostate cancer. These steps that may have potential benefits include the following:
1. Increase consumption of foods rich in lycopene
Look up which phytochemical has the power to beat back prostate cancer and lycopene will be at the top of the list. This natural pigment, found in cooked tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, cooked red pepper, asparagus, red cabbage, and mangoes, has long been studied for its effect on cancers. A number of studies indicate that regular consumption of foods rich in lycopene may help reduce prostate cancer risk.
Fatty fish is high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which reduce the risk of prostate cancer
2. Maintain optimal levels of vitamin D
Men who have prostate cancer tend to have lower rates of vitamin D, according to several studies. It is possible to get vitamin D from the sun or by eating fatty fish, such as salmon, or drinking milk fortified with vitamin D. Another option is to consider taking a vitamin D supplement, which can increase levels along with possibly slowing or preventing the growth of cancerous cells. Before taking a vitamin D supplement, men should consult with their doctor.
3. Boost intake of omega-3 fatty acids
Why omega-3 fatty acids for prostate cancer? Studies have found that men with a higher intake of these essential fats are associated with a reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids appear to help fight prostate cancer by reducing inflammation. One of the best ways to ensure adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids is to have a meal of fatty fish at least twice a week. Fatty or cold-water fish are rich in the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids; these include salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, and trout. These fish should be poached, baked or grilled and never fried. It is unclear if the same effect can be obtained by taking a dietary supplement such as fish oil – at this time the best bet is to get omega-3 fatty acids naturally by consuming natural sources such as fatty fish, eggs, soymilk, flaxseed, or walnuts.
4. Drink green tea
Many large studies of men have shown that men who consume green tea regularly are less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who do not drink the beverage. Other studies have found that the risk of prostate cancer decreases proportionally as the amount, frequency, and duration of green tea consumption increases.
Men who consumed five or more cups of green tea daily had a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer
In terms of tea consumed, men who drank more than three cups of green tea daily showed a reduced risk of prostate cancer. In a large study that evaluated the green tea drinking habits of 49,920 men aged 40-69 for at least 10 years, researchers found that men who consumed five or more cups of green tea daily had a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer when compared with men who drank less than one cup daily.
What is special about green tea? A compound called EGCG found in green tea is believed to possibly help reduce and kill cancerous cells. In addition, green tea appears to interfere with the activity of an enzyme called orthnithine decarboxylase, which plays a role in the beginning of prostate cancer. This beverage may also slow the growth of prostate cancer cells by encouraging the repair of damaged DNA that might otherwise promote cancer growth.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical contributor for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SamadiMD.com, davidsamadiwiki, davidsamadibio and Facebook