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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Limiting Risk for the #2 Cause of Cancer-Related Death among Men


Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Limiting Risk for the #2 Cause of Cancer-Related Death among Men
  Nov. 22, 2016


November is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month as observationally evident via social media posts for “Movember”. Men who grow out their mustache (often in unique fashions) post their refined visage with efforts to draw likes and attention to one of the most common forms of cancer. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among American men. It is estimated 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. According to the National Cancer Institute there will be an estimated 180,890 new cases and over 26,000 deaths due to prostate cancer this year alone. Fortunately, there are nutritional and healthy living strategies that can reduce one’s risk for this type of cancer. Due to the fact that its risk factors are partially behavioral an exercise professional can be quite useful in educating clients at risk.

Risk factors and preventative strategies for prostate cancer:

  • Screening can start at age 40 among high-risk men, but is most important after the age of 65 when over 80% of cases occur (5-year survival rate is nearly 100% if found early)
    • Screening frequency and initiation are debated as some men undergo surgery or chemotherapy when they have a non-aggressive form of the cancer that will not actually limit their lifespan (80% of men over 80 have cancer cells in their prostate)
  • Major risk factors include age, race (African Americans have greater risk) and family history
  • Environmental factors such as smoking and low exposure to sun light may increase one’s risk
  • A sedentary lifestyle or lack of exercise makes prostate cancer more likely
  • Dietary intake contributes to one’s risk; according to the American Cancer Society one should limit excess dietary fat, red meat (especially processed or well done), and dairy while making sure to consume fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants (e.g., lycopene found in tomatoes)
    • Dietary fat can increase testosterone activity which speeds the growth of cancer cells in the prostate
    • The disease is much more common in countries where red meat and dairy products are dietary staples
  • Two diets known to be associated with longevity and a reduced risk for prostate cancer are the traditional Japanese diet and a Southern Mediterranean diet:
    • Japanese diet - high in green tea, soy, vegetables and fish - and low in calories, red meat and fat
    • Mediterranean diet - high in fresh fruits and vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, olive oil, and fish - and low in red meat or dairy
  • Aspirin and some anti-inflammatory drugs seem to potentially lower relative risk
  • Liquor but not beer or wine is positively associated with increased risk.

Educating clients on the above risk factors and lifestyle modifications may help those who are more prone to developing prostate cancer take steps to protect themselves from one of the most common causes of life-threatening disease among men.

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