5 Ways to Prevent Prostate Cancer

If you’re a man, you’re probably concerned about prostate cancer. Preventing prostate cancer can be tricky, since doctors don’t yet understand all of the factors that contribute to its development. Some risk factors, like genetics, age, and race, remain forever beyond your control, but there may still be some steps you can take to protect yourself from this disease.

One important way to protect yourself from prostate cancer — and cancers in general — is to take good care of your health. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can protect you from a range of diseases including prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that regular sexual activity can also prevent prostate cancer, as can avoiding a vasectomy.


1) Watch Your Weight

Obesity is a risk factor for prostate cancer, as it is for many other cancers, so maintaining a healthy weight is an important way to protect yourself. While the increase in prostate cancer risk associated with obesity is small, a review of the evidence suggests that obese men are more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer than men who aren’t obese. If you are already overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about a plan to lose weight through diet and exercise. If you aren’t overweight or obese, take steps to keep your BMI at a healthy level.

2) Exercise Regularly

Exercise is an important way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, but it also has a range of health benefits. Physical activity protects your heart health by boosting your HDL or “good” cholesterol and lowering your triglycerides. Regular exercise can also protect you from type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis, falls, stroke, and a number of cancers besides prostate cancer. Exercise can boost your mood, help you sleep better, improve your sex life, and more.

If you’re having trouble finding the motivation to exercise, choose a physical activity you enjoy, like dancingor playing sports. Even a 30-minute walk with the family dog will suffice. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day at least five days a week.

3) Eat a Healthy Diet

Some studies suggest that eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables can protect you from prostate cancer. Take it easy on the meat, nuts, dairy and oils. When you do eat fat, try to eat fat from plant sources, like nuts and olive oil. Fatty fish, like trout, salmon, or sardines, are also good parts of a healthy diet.

In addition to eating a healthy diet in general, there are some specific foods that may prevent prostate cancer. A glass or two — but no more — of red wine each day may lower your prostate cancer risk. Ten grams or more of garlic and scallions per day may also cut your prostate cancer risk in half, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Using spices like ginger, rosemary, and oregano may be helpful, as may drinking green tea. Foods like soy, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and peanuts contain isoflavones, which may reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

4) Engage in Regular Sexual Activity

According to an Australian study, frequent sexual activity may significantly lower your risk of prostate cancer. Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Victoria and his team surveyed 1,079 men with prostate cancer and 1,259 healthy men about their sexual activities. The researchers found that the more frequently the men ejaculated over the course of their lifetimes, the less likely they were to develop prostate cancer. Those men who enjoyed sexual activity five times or more each week throughout their 20s were the least likely to develop prostate cancer, although men aged 30 to 50 also enjoyed protective benefits from regular ejaculation.

5) Avoid a Vasectomy

A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health has produced more evidence that vasectomy could cause prostate cancer, so you may want to reconsider the procedure, especially if you already have a high risk of prostate cancer. The results of the study found that men who had received vasectomies were 20 percent more likely to later be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and 19 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer. However, researchers stress that the overall risk of developing prostate cancer due to a vasectomy is small. They also point out that birth control for women carries potentially life-threatening risks of its own, so you and your partner should carefully consider all of the options before ruling out vasectomy.

While you may be helpless to change some of the factors that influence your prostate cancer risk, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Take good care of yourself, maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet, engage in regular sexual activity, and weigh your personal birth control decisions carefully. With good self-care and a bit of luck, you can avoid a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.