Preventing Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men. About 1 in 8 people with prostates will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. You can take steps to help lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.

About prostate cancer

The prostate is a gland in the reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and is about the size of a large walnut. Prostate cancer can begin growing in the cells of the prostate and potentially spread to other parts of the body.

What increases my risk of getting prostate cancer?

Some factors that may increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age (the risk increases after 50 years of age and it’s most often diagnosed in men over 65)
  • Having a family history of prostate cancer
  • Being tall 
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being of African descent
Some possible risk factors which need to be confirmed by more research include:

How can I decrease my risk of prostate cancer?

Sometimes cancer occurs for reasons outside our control, but you can take steps to decrease your risk. Read Lowering your Risk of Cancer for tips on reducing your risk of cancer in general. For tips on managing your weight, read 5 Tips on Maintaining Your Weight as You Age.   

Are there any foods I can eat to reduce my risk of prostate cancer? 

Some foods have been associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer, but more research is needed to confirm the benefits. These include:

Should I take supplements to lower my risk of prostate cancer?

No. Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get vitamins, minerals and other cancer fighting compounds. Research has shown that taking supplements like selenium or beta carotene do not help reduce prostate cancer risk. Speak with dietitian if you are thinking about taking vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements.

What about calcium supplements?

If you have trouble getting enough calcium from foods, talk to your dietitian or health care professional about a calcium supplement. You need 1000 mg of calcium per day if you are 19 to 70 years of age and 1200 mg if you are over 70. Getting enough calcium is important for bone health, but getting more calcium than you need may increase your risk of prostate cancer. 

Should I get screened for prostate cancer?

Speak to your health care professional about getting screened.  Your doctor may recommend specific tests to assess your risk. Learn more about prostate cancer screening  screened.

How can a dietitian help? 

dietitian can support you in making changes to your diet that help lower your risk of prostate cancer. For example, a dietitian can give you advice on how much calcium to eat in a day, which supplements you may need and how to maintain a healthy weight that is right for you. Connect with a dietitian today! 

Bottom line

More research still needs to be done to know for sure which foods impact your risk of prostate cancer. In the meantime, aiming for a healthy weight and eating a nutritious diet is important for reducing risk of cancer. 

You may also be interested in:

Lowering Your Risk of Cancer: What About Specific Foods?
Just For Men - Stay Healthy Over 50
Lowering Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

This article was written and reviewed by dietitians from Dietitians of Canada. The advice in this article is intended as general information and should not replace advice given by your dietitian or healthcare provider. 

Last Update – June 14, 2022

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