The risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer increases with age. In fact, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer range from 72-75 years old. Prostate cancer is usually localized and can be treated or removed entirely with early detection.
Lifestyle factors and prostate cancer
This type of cancer is unique, as certain modifiable lifestyle factors actually put you at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Diet, exercise, and weight are significant risk factors that you can control!
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Cut the fat, add the good carbs
Diets high in fat, with a heavy intake of fast-food and fatty meats, can increase your overall risk of developing prostate cancer. In a recent study conducted on mice, researchers suggest that a high-fat diet may even help prostate cancer to spread (metastasize) throughout the body! Yikes!
A typical Western diet has more fat, so some healthcare professionals recommend trying a Mediterranean diet which emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, good quality fats from fish and olive oil, and whole grains. Changing the type of fat you are eating can change your whole metabolism, aid in weight loss, and boost your health overall.
Maintain a healthy weight
As we age, weight loss becomes more difficult. Being overweight or obese is associated with the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers including prostate cancer.
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Excess body fat can cause changes in both hormone function and amount which can change cell function and lead to cancerous cell activity. Bottom line is, maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and is key to aging healthfully!
Make time for exercise
If I could prescribe exercise, fruits, and vegetables, I would! Exercise is essential to keeping your weight in check and living a healthier life. You don’t need a gym membership or a fancy workout machine in your home, something as simple as walking 30 minutes after lunch daily will help control your weight, improve your mood, and fight off chronic diseases!
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Swimming, gardening, bicycling, dancing, basketball and tennis are all ways to get moving, find something that you love and stick with it 3-4 times per week. Walking for only 1-3 hours per week can lessen your risk of prostate cancer by 86%! Regular exercise can also strengthen your pelvic floor, improving urinary and sexual function that can dwindle as you age.
Eating right and exercising regularly will help with weight management and are key components of overall health and wellness. A healthy diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables, contain good quality fats, and high in fiber. And if you have questions, concerns, or just want more information, regular physical exams are an excellent opportunity to talk with your doctor about your risk for prostate and other cancers.
Caroline is a Clinical Registered Dietitian for MedStar Health and Hospital Systems in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her Masters Degree in Dietetics from San Jose State University and moved back to Charm City to be with her fiancee. When she’s not providing medical nutrition therapy to her patients, Caroline enjoys cooking, waterfront walks and crab-anything (crab pizza is the best!).