What are the ways to reduce the risk of prostate cancer?

Dr Suresh Bhagat, a Consultant Urologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, how diet helps men to reduce the risk of prostate cancer


The prostate cancer refers to the prevalence of cancerous cells in the prostate gland; this small gland produces a fluid that nourishes the semen. Many studies reveal that 2/ 3 cases of cancer in males above the age of 65, is termed as malignancy of elderly males. In India, prostate cancer is the 3rd most common form of cancer amongst men, after lung and mouth cancer. The incidence of these has increased by over 220% in the past years.

The prostate gland is situated just below urinary bladder, in front of the rectum, it secretes an enzyme, Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which liquefies the semen which helps in sperm fertilisation. PSA is an important biomarker used for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Previously, it was believed that prevalence of prostate cancer in India is much lower as compared to the western world, but with the recent increase in rural to urban population shift, changing life patterns, increased awareness, and increased medical access, prostate cancer cases are easily being picked-up.

There are no foolproof prostate cancer prevention strategies, but one may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Below are few suggestions to reduce the risk:

Choose a healthy diet: Choosing a healthy diet, which is low in fat, comprises of fruits and vegetables may contribute to a lower risk of prostate cancer. Below are the suggestions which you can include in your diet to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Choose a low-fat diet:  Limit intake of fat-rich food, including meats, oils, processed munchies and dairy products (Milk, Cheese, etc.). You could consider the use of plant-based fats rather than animal fats. For example, cook in olive oil rather than butter. Sprinkle seeds and nuts on your salad rather than cheese.

Increase intake of fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetable reduce the risk of prostate cancer as they are full of vitamins and nutrients. Eating fruits and vegetables will also fill you up faster, leaving lesser room for high-fat food.

Eat fish: Fatty fish – salmon and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids and are linked with reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Another way to add omega-3s to your diet is by eating flaxseed.

Maintain a healthy weight: Men who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, could have an increased risk of prostate cancer. If you are obese, work on reducing your weight by exercising and choosing a healthy diet.

The best approach to avoid the risks includes:

Speak: In cases of a family history of prostate cancer, like father and brother, speak to your doctor. Consult the doctor, when you develop urinary symptoms like frequency, urgency, poor flow, and blood in urine.

Screen: Make sure you keep up with regular screening when there is the family history of prostate cancer.

Stay healthy: A healthy diet and exercise regime can help you prevent cancer.