A man looks out a window.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in the U.S. The Prostate Cancer Foundation says that 1 in 8 men in the U.S. will have prostate cancer in his lifetime.

Prostate Health Basics

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It produces the fluid in semen.

Growths in the prostate can be benign (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or cancerous. Some symptoms (like frequent urination) are similar for both. So it’s important to see your doctor for prostate cancer screening, especially if you’re between 55 and 69 years old.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer doesn’t usually have symptoms in the early stages. As prostate cancer progresses, you may:

  • Have bone pain.
  • Have dull pain in the pelvic area.
  • Have pain in your hips, lower back, or upper thighs.
  • Have painful ejaculation.
  • Need to urinate frequently.
  • Lose weight.
  • Lose your appetite.
  • See blood in your urine.

What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?

Doctors don’t know what causes prostate cancer. But there are certain risk factors. You’re more likely to get prostate cancer if you:

  • Are obese.
  • Are over 55. Prostate cancer is rarely found in anyone under 40.
  • Have a family history of the disease.
  • Smoke.

What Can I Do to Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

There’s no magic bullet to ward off prostate cancer. Doctors don’t know everything about the link between diet and prostate health. They also don’t completely understand the relationship between exercise and prostate cancer.

In general, a heart-healthy lifestyle is good for prostate health. To reduce your risk of prostate cancer, keep your weight at a healthy level, don’t smoke, and manage your daily stress.

Follow these 10 tips for good health:

1. Limit red meat.

Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) is high in saturated fat and calories. Chicken breast, fish, and beans are better sources of protein.

2. Eat fresh fruit and veggies.

Tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, and cauliflower contain nutrients that may help slow the spread of cancer. Bonus: If you fill up on healthy fruit and veggies, you’ll be less tempted to snack on junk food.

3. Eat “good fats.”

Olive oil, fish, nuts, and avocados all contain healthy omega-3 fats. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (also called trans fats) in many packaged foods.

4. Limit dairy and calcium.

A diet high in dairy and calcium may raise your risk of getting prostate cancer. Doctors recommend limiting calcium to 1,200 mg per day.

5. Quit smoking.

Tobacco has a negative effect on the whole body, and it’s a major risk factor for prostate cancer. The good news? Ten years after quitting tobacco, your risk factor for prostate cancer plummets to that of a non-smoker your age.

6. Drink alcohol in moderation.

Heavy drinking weakens your immune system and puts you at risk for many diseases, including cancer. Also, people often overeat while under the influence. That combination can lead to obesity, a risk factor for prostate cancer.

7. Work exercise into your daily routine.

Any kind of movement is beneficial to prostate health, but many people have a hard time sticking to a rigid exercise routine. Instead, look for little ways to move more during your day. Park further away from work, walk to the grocery store, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

8. Find a workout you love.

If going to the gym feels like just another chore, you’re not going to stick with it. Instead, look for another form of exercise. A simple walk or bike ride can get your heart rate going and relieve stress.

9. Add yoga to your workout routine.

Stress increases your risk of developing many diseases, including prostate cancer. Try yoga therapy to increase blood flow and soothe stress. Bonus: Yoga increases your flexibility and adds muscle tone, which is good for your whole body.

10. Develop good sleep habits.

Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to recharge and stave off diseases. Develop a soothing nighttime routine for optimum rest. Turn off your phone and dim the lights before turning in.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that lifestyle alone will prevent prostate cancer. Your genes play a big part in the disease. But a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Urology Care Foundation, How to Keep Your Prostate Healthy, Link

Urology Care Foundation, What Is Prostate Cancer? Link

Prostate Cancer Foundation, How to Prevent Prostate Cancer, Link

National Cancer Institute, Prostate Cancer Prevention, Link

Healthline, 9 Tips to Prevent Prostate Cancer, Link

Harvard Health Publishing, 10 Diet and Exercise Tips for Prostate Health, Link

Sleep Foundation, Why Do We Need Sleep? Link

About UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

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