What are the natural ways to prevent prostate cancer?

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There is no single best way to prevent prostate cancer, but several natural methods can help. These include maintaining a healthful weight, exercising, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the type most common among American men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the majority, prostate cancer is not fatal.

The American Cancer Society estimate that males with prostate cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 99 percent.

Prostate cancer can still carry serious consequences for quality of life and may be life-threatening.

In this article, we describe several natural steps a person can take to reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer.

Can you prevent prostate cancer?

Tofu in a bowl which may help to reduce prostate cancer risk
Adding soy products to the diet may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

It is not possible to prevent prostate cancer, but it is possible to reduce a person’s risk.

Most natural methods of reducing this risk are safe if a person follows a doctor’s instructions and has no allergic response.

Incorporate these methods into a broader care plan, and speak with a doctor beforehand.

The best ways to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer are to make positive changes involving diet and exercise, according to the American Cancer Society.

If a person tries to reduce their risk in other ways, these are less likely to be effective without a healthful diet and exercise program.

Natural ways to lower risk

Researchers continue to investigate the potential for medications and natural remedies to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The following drugs may be effective:

  • finasteride (Proscar)
  • dutasteride (Avodart)
  • aspirin

However, no study to date definitively demonstrates that any drugs can eliminate the risk.

In recent years, rigorous biomedical research has tested the effectiveness of natural remedies. For example, results of laboratory studies have suggested that saw palmetto has beneficial properties. However, it is not an effective treatment for prostate cancer.

Below are some natural remedies that are commonly used to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Soy products

Isoflavones are a chemical compound with anti-inflammatory properties. The foods with the highest concentrations of isoflavones are soybean products, including:

  • tofu
  • soy milk
  • miso

Other foods that contain isoflavones include:

  • chickpeas
  • beans
  • alfalfa

A 2016 study concluded that isoflavones could benefit health in several ways, including helping to protect against prostate cancer.

The medical community currently holds that, while isoflavones cannot treat or prevent the disease, they can play a protective role.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish and other types of seafood. Additional sources include:

  • walnuts
  • flax seeds
  • soybeans

There is some evidence that omega-3s fatty acids may reduce prostate cancer risk.

However, many experts no longer believe that the acids have significant cancer-fighting properties.

Tomatoes

variety of tomatoes on a board
Studies suggest that tomato consumption may lead to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Processed tomatoes, including all cooked and canned varieties, contain a compound called lycopene.

Some studies suggest that this compound may reduce the risk of cancers, especially those of the prostate, lung, and stomach.

A review from 2016 found that increased tomato consumption resulted in a reduced risk of prostate cancer, though the authors note that more research is needed.

Grapefruit, watermelon, and apricots also contain lycopene.

Coffee

In 2016, researchers published a review of 105 studies that considered the effects of coffee on cancer risk.

They concluded that coffee and its antioxidant capabilities may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer and some other types of the disease.

What to avoid

Some compounds in foods may increase a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

Consider avoiding the following:

Selenium and vitamin E

The medical community once considered selenium and vitamin E to be opponents of cancer.

However, more recent research suggests that these compounds, when taken together or in isolation, can increase the risk of prostate cancer in some people.

Anyone concerned about prostate cancer should avoid supplements containing vitamin E or selenium.

Vegetable oils

A diet excessively high in fat can increase the risk of many types of cancer, and the omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable oils may promote the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Oils derived from corn, sunflowers, safflowers, cottonseed, and soybeans, for example, can contain substantial amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.

Grilled or fried meats

The National Cancer Institute in the United States advises against eating meats cooked at high temperatures, typically by grilling or frying.

When a person cooks muscle meat, including beef, pork, and poultry, at high temperatures, the meat may form chemicals that cause changes in DNA, resulting in an increased risk of cancer.

Sugar and carbohydrates

The glycemic load and glycemic index measurements show how quickly carbohydrates and sugars affect a person’s blood sugar and insulin.

Some studies have suggested that a diet with a high glycemic load may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that, while the relationship between sugar and cancer remains complex, sugar may have the highest impact on the risk of prostate, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

Risk factors

gp listening to depressed senior male patient and taking notes
People aged 65 years of age or older account for many cases of prostate cancer.

Risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Age. Approximately 60 percent of all prostate cancer diagnoses occur in males aged 65 or older.
  • Genetics. The highest rates of prostate cancer in the U.S. occur in African-American men, followed by men who are Caucasian, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander, respectively.
  • Diet. A diet rich in fat and low in fruits and vegetables increases the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Environment. Exposure to some industrial chemicals also increases this risk.
  • Family history. If a father or brother has had prostate cancer, a person has more than twice the risk of developing it.

Get regular testing

A lifestyle that includes exercise and a healthful diet can help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

However, attending regular checkups and screenings is still the best way to handle this risk.

Speak with a doctor before trying natural or alternative ways to prevent cancer.

Takeaway

While it is not possible to prevent prostate cancer, some lifestyle changes and natural compounds may reduce a person’s risk.

Anyone concerned about their prostate cancer risk should attend regular checkups and screenings.

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