Prostate Cancer Prevention
Pratik Patel, MD, is an urologist with Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz.
Question: Are there things I can do to protect myself from prostate cancer?
Answer: All men are at risk for developing prostate cancer. About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and about 80 percent of men who reach age 80 have prostate cancer.
Besides being male, there are other factors, such as age, race, and family history that may contribute to the risk.
I would encourage all men to talk with their physician if they experience any of the following warning signs:
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Inability to urinate
- Nagging pain or stiffness in the back, hips, upper thighs, or pelvis
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain or burning during urination (dysuria)
- Weak or interrupted urinary flow
In addition, with some changes in lifestyle, men can lower their risk of the disease.
- Watch your diet. Eating less fat and red meat and increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption may decrease your risk for prostate cancer. Researchers concluded that lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes and watermelon, may lower the risk for prostate cancer.
- Schedule regular doctor visits. Having an annual prostate exam and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test are very important to early detection. Early detection can find cancer early when treatment is more effective.
Prostate cancer often grows slowly, and is treatable, even if somewhat aggressive. That is why it is so important to be checked regularly after the age of 50, or earlier if there is a family history.
Reviewed August 2010