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Prostate health 101

By Medisys on September 02 2020 | Men's Health, News

1 in 9 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian men.


Preventive screening for prostate cancer results in catching the cancer before it causes symptoms. The goal of prostate cancer screening is to identify and treat the cancer before it spreads. Screening for prostate cancer begins with a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. This test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.


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Higher PSA levels in the blood are associated with higher likelihood of a prostate issue – but higher PSA levels do not indicate prostate cancer. Other factors such as age, race, certain medications, prostate infections, and individual differences between prostate glands can cause fluctuation in PSA levels.

Current research in prostate health suggests that in addition to routine prostate cancer screening, preventive health measures including dietary changes can translate into very meaningful benefits. Interestingly, many studies have shown that obese men have a greater risk of dying from prostate cancer, developing a more aggressive cancer, and experiencing disease recurrence after surgery or radiation therapy; and the Cancer Prevention Study demonstrated that men with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 32.5 kg/m2 were 35% more likely to die of prostate cancer than men whose BMI was less than 25.

Although diet and nutrition appear to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, and although some foods have been linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer, there is no evidence that a specific diet can prevent or alter the growth of an existing cancer. Most recommendations for a prostate healthy diet, however, are very similar to a heart healthy diet and would be beneficial to most men.

To improve your prostate health, try to find a healthy fat and protein balance in your diet. Dietary fats and cholesterol play a role in the production of androgens, male hormones associated with prostate-cancer development. As a result, current nutrition guidelines recommend eating a balanced diet with emphasis on plant sources.


Prostate Health Tips


• Reduce your consumption of foods that are high in fat, especially processed meats and red meat (ex: deli meat, bacon, sausages, cheese and cream). For example, 62% of calories found in a t-bone steak come from fat.

• Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas or juices.

• Increase your consumption of plant-based protein sources, such as legumes, dried split peas and beans.

• Incorporate the following foods into your diet: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, garlic, Omega-3 fats and green tea.

• Eat at least five serving of fruits and vegetables each day. Go for those with deep, bright color.

• When choosing your pasta, bread or cereals, opt for whole grains over processed and refined grains.

• Limit your sodium intake

• Limit alcohol intake.

According to the Prostate Cancer Free Foundation, there are a variety of dietary nutrients and supplements that may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. They are readily available in foods and are generally thought to be better if ingested as food rather than as an artificial supplement.

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Important notes

Vitamin E and Selenium Supplementation: Recent studies have found that supplementation of these nutrients do not have a preventative affect against prostate cancer. Vitamin E and selenium supplementation can actually increase the risk of the disease.

Calcium: A diet high in calcium is currently being studied as a possible risk factor. So far, research tells us that the levels of calcium have to be very high – much higher than the average man’s diet – for it to be a concern. Therefore, it is recommended that you continue to have the recommended number of servings of milk and substitutes each day.

During treatment, adjusting your diet may help you manage treatment side effects, and eating well after treatment may lower your risk for secondary cancers as well as improve your overall health.

Don’t forget to exercise

Of course, all health related articles mention exercise, and it’s not to bother you! When it comes to prostate health, staying physically active is essential.

A joint study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Health reports a connection between brisk walking and a lowered risk of prostate cancer advancement.

The study found that among the men diagnosed with earlystage prostate cancer, men who walked briskly (not leisurely) for at least three hours a week were 57% less likely to have their cancer progress than those who walked less often and less vigorously.

In an analysis from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer who engaged in vigorous activity at least three hours each week had a 61% lower chance of dying from the illness, compared to men who engaged in vigorous activity less than one hour a week. By moving more, you will be able to control and maintain your body weight, boost your immune system, making you less likely to develop prostate problems, and helping your body resist inflammation which contributes to prostate disease. Already looking for excuses to not move more? We have your back! Read our article on the 4 main excuses people use to stay on their couch instead of moving.


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