Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer affecting men in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. You can’t prevent prostate cancer, but knowing the risk factors and making healthy life choices can help you stay ahead of the disease.
What causes prostate cancer?
The exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown. There are certain factors that put men at an increased risk for developing the disease.
- The older you get, the higher your risk for prostate cancer. Roughly 60% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men after the age of 65. It’s rarely diagnosed before age 40.
- African-American men are at a higher risk for prostate cancer than men of other races; the disease tends to develop sooner and is more advanced when diagnosed. African-American men are also twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than men of other races.
- If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk for prostate cancer may be higher.
What can you do to prevent prostate cancer?
Knowing the risk factors for prostate cancer is important. African-American men, men older than 65 years of age, and men with relatives who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are at an increased risk for the disease.
Prostate cancer can be fatal, but most men will not die from prostate cancer if it is detected and treated. The 15-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer is 96%.
Prostate cancer may not cause symptoms, which can make it difficult to detect. This is a situation where screening can help. There’s debate about screening for prostate cancer, however. It’s essential to talk to your doctor before making decisions about prostate cancer screening.
Healthy lifestyle choices can also help reduce your risk for diseases such as prostate cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight through eating a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise is a good place to start.
Choose fish over red meat and dairy products. Enjoy dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Tomatoes and olive oil are other good choices. Choose whole grains and try to get five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The Prostate Cancer Foundation reports that these wise choices are supported by research.
If you have questions or concerns about prostate cancer and your risk for prostate cancer, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.