Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate gland which is found only in males start to grow out of control. Prostate gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum and makes some of the fluid that is part of semen. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and unfortunately its incidence is increasing in India as it has moved from being the eighth most common cancer in males in 1990s to the third rank by 2015. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men worldwide. (Also read: Prostate Cancer: Causes, symptoms, risk factors and treatment)
Can one prevent the prostate cancer? There are certain risk factors like age, race and genetics that cannot be modified while lifestyle factors can be modified to an extent.
“There is no proven strategy to prevent prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is primarily a disease of aging. As you get older, your chances of developing prostate cancer increase. Race and genetics also play a significant role. If your father, brother or multiple blood relatives had prostate cancer, you are more likely to get it, too. Worldwide African Americans have increased risk of having prostate cancer. These risk factors of age, race and genetics are non-modifiable risk factors. Preventing prostate cancer might be difficult if you have these risk factors, but screening early and often can help ensure that if you do get cancer, it’s diagnosed and treated as soon as possible,” says Dr Shrikanth Atluri, Consultant Uro-Oncologist and Robotic Surgeon within the division of Surgical Oncology (Cancer Surgery) at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai.
LIFESTYLE FACTORS THAT INCREASE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER
A wide variety of environmental or dietary factors may be associated with the risk of developing prostate cancer.
“Poor eating habits and diets that heavily rely on fats and animal proteins can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer. Even men who are already at greater risk due to age, race or genetics can reduce their chances of developing prostate cancer by adopting healthy diets and lifestyles. Improve your diet by reducing fat, charred meat, eating more fruits and vegetables, maintain healthy weight, regular exercise, stop smoking and drinking are the lifestyle changes to be adopted to which may help in reducing the risk of having a prostate cancer,” says Dr Atluri.
Dr. Preetam Kumar Jain – Senior Consultant Oncologist and Hematologist, Masina Hospital, says that although there is no definite method to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and certain risk factors are irreversible, there are studies that reversible risk factors when controlled can help in reducing the risk of prostate cancers. Dr Jain suggests some tips.
TIPS TO REDUCE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER
– Healthy lifestyle: One should stay away from unhealthy food, eat nutritious food and sleep on time.
– Regular exercise: One should exercise 20 minutes a day and 5 days a week.
– Avoid Obesity: Staying physically active and eating healthy food can help. Weight problems should be addressed early.
– Maintain Body mass index
– Eating diets rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables can help reduce risk of prostate cancer.
– Do not go overboard with dairy products and calcium content.
– Avoid diet containing red and processed meats.
– Some studies say that drugs that inhibit 5 alpha reductase inhibitors and aspirin may reduce the reduce the risk of prostate cancer and mortality. However, they are not FDA recommended as of now.
“It is also important to identify early symptoms of prostate related problem. Symptoms like frequent micturition, incomplete voiding of urine, nocturia, could be possible signs of prostate related problems. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, then the subsequent generation members are at a risk of prostate cancer, at least a decade earlier. Knowing this genetic susceptibility, you may have to remain alert as your age advances. New genetic studies are in the pipeline for better understanding of the prostate cancer. Mutation analysis like BRCA and HRR testing are now being recommended in patients with prostate cancer,” says Dr Jain.